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Spotlight [2015] [R] - 4.4.5

 
 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
Profanity
1 to 10

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Based on true events: We follow the Boston Globe's investigative reporting team as it investigates and reveals the systematic cover-up by the Catholic church of priests molesting young children over many years and throughout the city. With Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d'Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, Neal Huff and Billy Crudup. Directed by Tom McCarthy. [2:08]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - We hear detailed descriptions of the repeated molestations, rape and abuse of children by Catholic priests: One man says that he was 11 years old and was preyed upon by a priest and he talks about how the priest chose the boy and that he started with a dirty joke, then showed the boy a pornographic magazine, then coerced to boy to perform oral sex; another man talks about a priest raping him when he was 12 after his father killed himself; another man talks about a priest playing strip poker with him and the boy lost, and then the priest took off his clothes and told the boy to perform oral sex on him. A man says, "Priests are using the collar to rape kids." A man says, "It takes a village to abuse a child." A letter reads that 7 children in one family were violated.
 A man wears a sleeveless shirt and shorts while running (his bare shoulders and legs to the upper thighs are seen). A woman wears low-cut tops that reveal cleavage in several scenes.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - Three men discuss their abuse in detail: One man says that he was 11 years old and was preyed upon by a priest and he talks about how the priest chose the boy and that he started with a dirty joke, then showed the boy a pornographic magazine, then coerced to boy to perform oral sex; another man talks about a priest raping him when he was 12 after his father killed himself; another man talks about a priest playing strip poker with him and the boy lost, then the priest took off his clothes and told the boy to perform oral sex on him. A man says, "Priests are using the collar to rape kids." A man says, "It takes a village to abuse a child." A letter reads that 7 children in a family were violated.
 We see the TV coverage of the World Trade Center attacks.
 We read that by 2002 249 priests were found to have committed abuse and that there were over 1000 survivors of abuse. When questioned about child molestation charges, a priest says, "I fooled around, but I never got any pleasure out of it," and he then says that he was raped himself.
  A man threatens to beat a man and tells the man to leave his brother alone. A man yells at another man about the handling of an investigative piece. A man yells at a woman and pounds on a table in a restaurant.
 There are many conversations about Catholic priests molesting and raping children over many years and the situation being covered up by many parties from the church to the police, to the politicians and business owners. There are references to people who were molested as children turning to drugs or alcohol or suicide. We see news headlines of priests accused of abuse.
 There are a few conversations about an editor being Jewish and wanting to cause trouble for the Catholic Church. A man talks about a Cardinal bringing down the power of God on a newspaper after an article was published and then says that the editor then broke his leg in a skiing accident. There are many conversations about pressure to keep quiet.
 A man is shown with needle marks on his arm.

PROFANITY 5 - About 7 F-words, 9 sexual references, 29 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (bad egg, nuts, pedophiles, bastards, smug, sloppy, scumbags, idiots), exclamations (jeez, oh jeez, ), 6 religious profanities (GD), 12 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus, Honest to God, Jesus Christ, Holy [scatological term deleted]). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man is shown with needle marks on his arm. Several men drink beers while watching a baseball game at a stadium, a man talks about being sober now indicating an alcohol problem, men and women drink alcohol at a fund raising gala and two men drink beers at a bar, a man holds a glass of wine, and a man drinks from a bottle of beer and a woman holds a glass of wine on a porch. A police officer smokes a cigarette in a police station, and a police officer smokes a cigarette outside a police station.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Catholic Church, Boston, child molestation, journalism, investigative reporting, internet vs. print, downsizing, tight-knit community, fear, shame, guilt, stature of limitations, awards capping, survivors groups, drug/alcohol abuse, suicide, Civil Rights, celibacy, secrecy, pedophilia, 9/11, homosexuality.

MESSAGE - No institution should be so influential as to cover-up atrocities.

Special Keywords: S4 - V4 - P5 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.




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