The film "Spotlight," the true story about an intrepid group of Boston Globe newspaper reporters working to uncover and expose the Catholic priest abuse scandal, was named Best Picture and Best Screenplay by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association over the weekend. This wasn't the first award and won't be the last for this fine film. It seems to be universally respected. I'm a huge fan of Tom McCarthy who co-wrote and directed this film. I've raved about "The Visitor" which I argue is required reading and viewing for all aspiring screenwriters.
"Spotlight" feels like a low-boil crime thriller, with a who-dunnit mystery with three facets: who did the crime, who covered it up, and who looked the other way? The film shows the painstaking, meticulous, patience-trying work behind the expose. They pound the pavement, they hunt through the archives, they make copies and phone calls and spreadsheets. It doesn't exactly sound like edge-of-your-seat stuff, and yet it is. And you care. You care about the phone calls, the copies, and the spreadsheets and you care about the people making them. And if that isn't a lesson for writers and filmmakers, I don't know what is.