You’d think that someone who was raised Catholic and has been a reporter, editor, and journalism trainer for 35 years would have seen Spotlight the first week it came out.
But when I finally watched it last night, I knew why it had taken so long.
It’s an excellent movie, well-crafted and yet authentic in its two-camera simplicity, true to its time and place. Tom and I loved it. When the credits rolled, we wanted to watch it again immediately. If it weren’t midnight already, we might have.
It’s a story full of the best things that journalism does: putting intensive human resources into digging up the truth and bringing it to light in service to the public, no matter what the pressure from the powers that be.
It’s also a period piece. The classic montages of reporters pounding the pavement to get information from sources and records, the cliche shots of the presses running to crank out tens of thousands of copies … those are quickly becoming vintage collections of scenes from a mighty mainstream media past.
So you’d think that I would have felt nostalgic. I didn’t.
The excitement and power of good reporting that the movie so well depicts is as familiar to me as my own byline. But I felt numb.
It was like watching a scene with a waitress in a chain restaurant: “Oh yes, I remember what that was like at Big Boy when I was 18.”
Familiar, but no longer mine.
Today’s penny is a 2015, the year for which Spotlight won Best Picture, and the year that the chasm between newspaper journalism and the rest of my life grew much greater.
Note – Featured image is cropped from this still image of the movie: