Spotlight (2016)

 ●  English ● 2 hrs 3 mins

Where did you watch this movie?

In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter "Robby" Robinson, reporters Michael Rezendes, Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. Determined and committed, the group makes it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Liev Schreiber, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci

Crew: Tom McCarthy (Director), Masanobu Takayanagi (Director of Photography), Howard Shore (Music Director)

Rating: A (India)

Genres: Drama, History, Thriller, Biography

Release Dates: 19 Feb 2016 (India), 21 Jan 2016 (Singapore)

Tagline: Break the story. Break the silence.

Movie Rating
Based on 2 ratings
Music Rating
Based on 1 rating
Did you know? Michael Keaton watched Jason Robards performance in All the President's Men (1976) to take some inspiration. Read More
No reviews available. Click here to add a review.
as Marty Baron
as Michael Rezendes
as Walter
as Sacha Pfeiffer
as Mitchell Garabedian
as Pedestrian
as Kevin
as Eric MacLeish
as Sports Editor
as Middle Aged Man
as Paul Burke
as Boston Globe Security Guard
as Pedestrian in Crosswalk
as Baseball Fan
as Librarian
as Police officer
as Boy at Garabedian's
as Father Dominick
as Husband at Church
as Parishioner
as Jon Albano
as Clerk O'Brian
as Bishop
as Angry Man's Sister
as Older Southie Woman
as Peter Canellos
as Hans Pfeiffer
as Red Sox Announcer
as Sacha's Grandmother
as Parishioner / Globe
as Guest List Woman
as Barbara Robinson
as Baseball Fan
as Angry Man
as Jack Dunn
as Steve Kurkjian
as Globe staff
as Baseball Fan
as Pedestrian
as Baseball Fan
as Senior Editor
as Jim Sullivan
as Elaine Carroll
as Receptionist #1
as Photographer
as Library Security
as Mother at Garabedian's
as Patrick McSorley
as Baseball Fan
as Baseball Fan
as Older Cop
as Pedestrian
as en Bradlee Jr
as Young Reporter
as Baseball Fan
as Veronica
as Judge Constance Sweeney
as Wilson Rogers
as Cardinal Law
as Stewart
as Weeping Man
as Cop in Coffee Shop
as Eileen McNamara
as Richard Gilman
as Joe Crowley
as Red Sox Fan
as Lisa Tuite
as Woman Interviewee
as Jane Paquin
as Maryetta Doussuord
as Phil Saviano
as Waiter at Gala
as Garabedian's Receptionist
as Linda Hunt
as Peter Conley
as Jim's Wife
as Receptionist at Judge's Chambers
as Red Sox Fan
as Rectory Priest
as Ronald Paquin
as Herald Reporter Quimby
as Clerk Mark
as Judge Volterra
as Paralegal
as Receptionist #2
as Girl at Garabedian's
as Helen Donovan
as Businessman
as Intern
as Passerby
as Sheila
as Maureen
as Globe Employee
as Principal Bill Kemeza
as Young Cop
as Bad Priest
as Disgruntled Man
as Female Editor
as Intern Wanda


First Assistant Director
Assistant Director



Screenplay Writer
Script Supervisor

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography
Digital Imaging Technician
Still Photographer
Key Grip
Lighting Technician


Music Director
Music Coordinator


Sound Mixer
Sound Editor
Foley Artist
Sound Re-recording Mixer


Art Director
Production Designer
Prop Master
Assistant Art Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer
Costume Supervisor
Assistant Costume Designer


Online Editor
First Assistant Editor


Location Manager
Location Scout

Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist

Post Production

Post Production Supervisor

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Supervisor
Visual Effects Producer
Visual Effects Studio
Visual Effects Coordinator
Digital Compositor


Transportation Coordinator
Film Type:
Feature Film
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 (Flat), 2.35 : 1
Break the story. Break the silence.
The true story behind the scandal that shook the world.
When Sacha and Joe Crowley are walking, they pass a Synagogue with a Star of David window pane. Later, Crowley says they are in front of a church and the tree covers the Star of David

Garabedian's Law Office has shelved copies of the Dominion Law Reports, a Canadian series of reports. Several other law books display the CLB logo of Canada Law Book. Evidence of scenes shot in Toronto

Factual Mistake
In the next to last scene, the two reporters show up at the Globe and park next to each other. Both of their cars have Massachusetts plates with 7 digits. Massachusetts never has more than six digits on their license plates

Errors in Geography
When Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer leave B.C. High to head back to the Globe, they turn left. The pedestrian bridge that crosses the road is to their right

When Sacha Pfeiffer is interviewing Joe Crowley in the park as they walk down an incline, a man and a young girl walk right to left in the background behind a cast iron fence. When the camera angle changes, the man and girl are gone

When Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci chat outside the courthouse while Tucci eats lunch, a tall, blond woman in a gray business suit walks past them away from the camera at the beginning of the scene, and again at the end of it

When Sacha Pfeiffer is conducting an interview with a victim in the coffee shop, she takes notes on her steno pad. At one point only a few lines are written, the next shot shows the pad full of notes, and a third shot shows a few lines written

Audio/Video Mismatch
In the middle of the movie Sacha Pfeiffer knocks on a door to interview a priest who's unusually forthcoming. She knocks on the glass in the door, but it makes the sound of someone knocking on solid wood

Toward the end of the movie Boston Globe Trucks hauling newspapers are shown leaving the garage however there are a couple newer model (2010 and newer) heavy duty trucks in the garage alongside correct period 2001 Ford F-800 models

The Massachusetts license plate briefly shown on the car in the 1976 flashback scene (leaving the police station) is not correct

When Mike Rezendes enters the Globe after getting out of the cab, a Star Market sign is visible behind him. The supermarket near the Globe headquarters was a Shaw's in 2001. It became a Star Market in 2011

The small bags of Doritos in the Globe break room have a 2013 logo

Through much of the film, a Dunkin' Donuts cup on Matt Caroll's desk features an icon for the "DD Perks" program, introduced in 2014
Mark Ruffalo asked the real Michael Rezendes, "Can I listen to you yell at someone?"

Investigative reporter Ben Bradlee Jr. is the son of Benjamin C. Bradlee, who, as executive editor of The Washington Post, oversaw the paper's investigation of the Watergate scandal in the 1970s. He was portrayed by Jason Robards in All the President's Men (1976).

When the real Walter Robinson visited the set he was very impressed after seeing Michael Keaton sitting at an exact copy of his desk, a two-fingered typist, just like him, his lips pursed, peering through reading glasses at a vintage 2001 Globe computer screen.

A framed photo of Walter Robinson's real-life daughter, Jessica, taken in 2000, is beside Michael Keaton 's desk. Beside that is a framed photo of Keaton with his arm around actress Elena Wohl, who plays his wife, Barbara.

Matt Damon was considered for the role of Michael Rezendes which went to Mark Ruffalo.

During an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air", director Tom McCarthy said many of the actors reached out to meet the reporters depicted in the movie shortly after agreeing to make the movie, and that many of the reporters spent a considerable amount of time on set during filming.

Tom McCarthy cast Jamey Sheridan due to his performance in Syriana (2005), where Sheridan played McCarthy's boss.

Michael Keaton on Walter Robinson accent and his character in the movie: "I was told by Tom McCarthy and the other guys, he told them that's one reason he just doesn't really have one. But he will fall into one when he's around people from his neighborhood or other neighborhoods. But then his r's get hard and he does "ing" and sometimes he doesn't do "ing." So when I saw that I thought, "Oh, shoot, now how do I determine when he's speaking with a Boston accent and when he's not?" So little things like that were hard. But basically what you want to do is be true to the guy, and I don't mean protect him, I just mean be who they are, you know? Not try to make them nicer than they are or anything. You know what I mean?"

Michael Keaton on playing Walter Robinson: "He's very powerful and very direct but until he reaches that point, he's a really pretty easy-going guy, but very cagey about how he gets information. Not in a bad way, in a really cool way, like a bird dog. So I kind of had mannerisms I observed."

Michael Keaton watched Jason Robards performance in All the President's Men (1976) to take some inspiration.

One theatrical trailer featured Lawless and Sydney Wayser's cover of the 1986 XTC song "Dear God." The song was somewhat controversial on its first release because of what some listeners heard as criticisms of religion and the church, as well as its conflicted point of view about the existence of God.

Margot Robbie turned down the role of Sacha Pfeiffer due to exhaustion. Amy Adams and Michelle Williams were both considered for the role. Rachel McAdams was later cast.

It struck some viewers as anachronistic that in this movie, very soon after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, some characters were already referring to them as "9/11." However, the term "9/11" actually started being used as a name for the events almost immediately after they occurred. For example, just two days afterward, on September 13, 2001, the New York Times announced the establishment of their "special campaign to raise money for the victims of the attack on the World Trade Center"; this was named The New York Times 9/11 Neediest Fund.

When Mark Ruffalo met the real Michael Rezendes for the first time at his home, he was carrying a notebook and an iPhone to record Rezendes' voice in order to get his most accurate speech patterns.

When Rachel McAdams tells Neal Huff that she will have to postpone the interviews with the survivors, a TV in the bar is broadcasting a Penn State game, and Joe Paterno appears on screen. The longtime Penn State football coach was fired in 2011 after he failed to report sexual abuse of young boys by assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Paterno died of lung cancer 2 months later. On October 9, 2012, Sandusky was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

Liev Schreiber also plays the title character in Ray Donovan (2013), a character from Boston whose brother, as well as himself, were victims of molestation by a priest and who was a member of SNAP.

Paul Guilfoyle graduated from Boston College High School in 1967.

The first time Michael Keaton met with the real Walter Robinson, just after Labor Day in the bar at the Greenwich Hotel in New York, they shook hands and Keaton furrowed his brow, and said to him: "You know you really do not have that much of a Boston accent."

The film is described as in the vein of the classic journalism pic All the President's Men (1976).

This is the second movie Michael Keaton has done about the newspaper industry after The Paper (1994).

In the opening scene, set in 1976, vehicles that were manufactured after that date are shown, such as a 1978-80 Ford Granada. Also, the exterior shot at the end of the scene is clearly in Toronto.

Mark Ruffalo becomes the second actor to be nominated for an Oscar for playing a Portuguese character (Michael Rezendes), the first actor to do so was Spencer Tracy who played "Manuel" in the 1937 film called Captains Courageous (1937), and actually won the Oscar for best leading actor.

Two of the supporting actors were captains of the police in two different series: Paul Guilfoyle played Cap. Jim Brass in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) and Jamey Sheridan played Cap. James Deakins in Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2001).

Director Tom McCarthy himself has portrayed an investigative journalist on the HBO drama The Wire (2002).

The film begins with events in 1976 and ends in with the beginning of 2002. Spans over a 26 year period.

This will be the second Tom McCarthy movie with John Slattery. The first movie was The Station Agent (2003).

Director Tom McCarthy played a journalist for The Baltimore Sun in season 5 of HBO's critically acclaimed drama The Wire (2002), where in an earlier season Pablo Schreiber has a role. Pablo Schreiber is the brother of Liev Schreiber, who plays Marty Baron the Editor of the Boston Globe in this film.

Stefanie Drummond: Sheila.

Towards the end of the film, it's revealed that Michael Keaton's character was the metro editor before he was the Spotlight editor. In The Paper (1994), Keaton played the metro editor of a fictional newspaper.

Actor Richard Jenkins played the voice of ex-priest and psychiatrist Richard Sipe. Neither the character of Richard Sipe nor actor Richard Jenkins is credited in the film.

When Michael Keaton accepted the role, he had tracked the real Walter Robinson before meeting him and found out he actually lived near Robinson's house. He also gotten hold of video and audio of Robinson. When Keaton first met him he did an impression of him that Robinson was so scared and said to him, "How did you know everything about me, we just met?"

During an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air", director Tom McCarthy said that they built a large set to depict many of the Boston Globe offices where parts of the story takes place. When the reporters depicted in the movie first visited the set, they gravitated to the desks where they had been sitting during the writing of the "Spotlight" piece, and many of them started to re-arrange the items on their desks to the way they had been at the time.

The real Walter Robinson said: "My persona has been hijacked. If Michael Keaton robbed a bank, the police would quickly have me in handcuffs".

The real Walter Robinson said on Michael Keaton "It is like watching yourself in a mirror, yet having no control of the mirror image."

During every break, Mark Ruffalo asked the real Michael Rezendes to say his lines for him.

Defrocked Roman Catholic priest John J. Geoghan was murdered by his cellmate at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Institution (now MCI Shirley) in Shirley, MA on August 23, 2003. Because his conviction (for fondling a boy in a public swimming pool) was on appeal, and he died before the appeal had been finalized, his conviction was automatically overturned. The three justices who issued the decision noted that they were following the direction of the Supreme Judicial Court and that vacating the conviction is "customary practice of the courts in this Commonwealth under such circumstances."

The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2013 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.

The one thing that Michael Keaton was afraid of when he accepted the role was the Boston accent. After watching a video footage of the real Walter Robinson he was surprised that Robinson didn't have that much of a Boston accent.

The real Michael Rezendes said "Watching Mark Ruffalo reenact five months of my life was like looking into a fun house mirror."

The credits and title cards are set in Miller, the typeface the Boston Globe uses for most headlines and body copy.

According to Mark Ruffalo, most of the actual Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the scandal were Roman Catholics.

Tom McCarthy cited multiple films as influence on this project: Frost/Nixon (2008), Broadcast News (1987), Network (1976), All the President's Men (1976), The Killing Fields (1984), The Insider (1999), Citizen Kane (1941), Ace in the Hole (1951), JFK (1991) , The Verdict (1982), and Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005), in which McCarthy had a small role.

The Boston Globe was very helpful with the set and approved the costume design, production design, actors, and script.

Michael Keaton spent days with the real Walter Robinson to learn how to emulate him properly.

The real Walter Robinson said: "To watch Michael Keaton become me on film makes me want to apologize to many people I have interviewed".

Tom McCarthy cited The Verdict (1982) and Sidney Lumet's style direction in that film as influence of this project.

All of the journalists use blue pens, their boss' pen is black, and the editor's is red.

As of the film's release, Michael Rezendes was the only journalist involved in the investigation still working on the Spotlight team.
Filming Start Date:
24 Sep 2014