Film Screening 23rd April, 2016

Poster for Spotlight


7:00 PM, 23rd April, 2016
No Guests

  • M
  • 129 mins
  • 2015
  • Tom McCarthy
  • Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy
  • Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Stanley Tucci

I have come to realise in the past couple of years that, along with the courtroom thriller, the crusading journalist movie is another archetype that I am a sucker for. The matriarch of this genre would have to be All The President’s Men from the 1970s, but in recent times we have also had Good Night and Good Luck, Frost/Nixon, The Insider and (my favourite) Zodiac.

Spotlight is certainly of the ilk and quality of all those movies. It is the saga of how the Boston Globe won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for not only exposing decades of sexual abuse by Catholic priests but also uncovering systematic manoeuvres to protect the perpetrators by the church’s archdiocese.

Director McCarthy is known for wonderful but more low-key movies like The Station Agent and The Visitor, but he takes a significant step up both in scope and ambition here. That said, it is not a movie that calls attention to itself with bombastic importance or heroic moments, but rather unfolds in a quiet and yet intense manner. It helps that the cast is uniformly strong, particularly Ruffalo, Keaton and Tucci.

At the time of writing this, Spotlight is in a strong position to win major Oscars in the coming season – having been nominated in six categories as of this writing – and deservedly so. It is damning and inspiring, depressing and heartening. It is the aforementioned President’s Men for our times, and was one of my Top Ten 2015 movies. Don’t miss it!

Travis Cragg

Poster for Freeheld


9:19 PM, 23rd April, 2016

  • M
  • 103 mins
  • 2015
  • Peter Sollett
  • Ron Nyswaner
  • Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell

Freeheld is based on a true story and the 2008 Academy Award-winning short documentary of the same name. The plot centres on New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester (Moore) who is diagnosed with terminal cancer but can’t leave her pension benefits to her life partner, Stacie (Page), because they are a same-sex couple.

The first half of the film focuses on depicting Laurel as a dedicated police officer who dreads the personal and professional ramifications of her colleagues finding out that she is a lesbian. The second half focuses on the couple's brave but bitter fight against not only cancer, but the social and legal rules which stand in the way of Laurel’s ability to provide financial security for her partner.

While Freeheld sometimes doesn’t quite know what it wants to be as a film, seeing this will not be a waste of your time. Moore and Page are phenomenal, as they often are, bringing both a sense of fight to their characters as well as genuine tenderness that creates some really endearing moments that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.

This film is also a reminder that the media/religious/moral conscious circus that surrounds so many of today’s big social issues often just serves to distract us from the humanity that lies at the issue’s heart. Whether it’s the issue, the people – or a simple desire to support the Film Group canteen during the interval – stick around (or come in) and give this movie a go.

Tamara Lee