This is the Best Picture winner of the 2015 cinematic year, and I wasn’t eager to see it because it was advertised as an “issue” picture that would more or less be a realistic story where the characters discover truths we already know. The tale of how some journalists broke the news on child sex scandel in the Catholic Church is surely the subject of gripping long-form articles and non-fiction books but this cinematic depiction only seemed to promise a glum procedural that let’s you feel some outrage and you never, ever see again or think much about.
But now that I’ve seen the film, I must say that while I may not want to watch it again, it sure did bring the feelz and held my interest. It’s a depiction of journalists doing their job gathering information that, for them, isn’t particularly hard to find. The film’s core point is that the societal neglect that abetted the sexual abuse of children by the clergy of the Catholic church is significantly shared by the institution of journalism. If The Boston Globe and its journalists had been more vigilant ten years earlier (film is set in 2001 to 2002, so the early 90s) the scandal could have been exposed earlier and more victims spared. So the film presents the uncovering of disturbing facts and wrong-doing of the Church in a “too little, too late” tone and the ultimate publication of the Globe’s first expose of the systemic abuse is presented in a tone that is more redemptive than triumphant.
In conclusion: The film was more or less the “issue” procedural I thought it would be but it was more thoughtful and gripping than I anticipated.