The True Story That Inspired The Movie Spotlight

"Spotlight" won the hearts of critics when it was released back in 2016, with the journalist drama racking up several Golden Globe and Oscar nominations, even taking that year's coveted "Best Picture" award. The movie details a troop of reporters for the Boston Globe newspaper as they investigate the pedophilia epidemic that had taken over the Catholic Church, a report that would earn them a Pulitzer Prize (via the Boston Globe). 

The film's story is true, and centers on the journalists who faced a series of obstacles and threats as they took on one of the most powerful men in American Catholicism, the archbishop of Boston. Sacha Pfeiffer, one of the journalists (portrayed by Rachel McAdams, above), recounts that the report came down to the fight over what was more important: the privacy of those involved, or the public's right to know about the rampant pedophilia among Catholic priests. It was a fight they eventually won, but it wasn't easy.

The movie is very accurate

The story that would eventually lead to the critically acclaimed movie begins in July 2001, when Marty Baron, the Boston Globe's new editor, insisted on a deeper follow-up to a piece about a priest sued for sexual abuse, particularly when Baron discovered that the judge had sealed the court records (via History vs Hollywood). An investigation uncovered that the problem went well beyond the one priest, with nearly 250 pedophile priests found in the Boston area who had been allowed to sexually abuse children for decades, covered up by the archdiocese.

Most of the details that differ in the film from reality are minor; for instance, a priest admits to molesting children to Pfeiffer in the film, when in real life it was admitted in an interview with Steve Kurkjian. The power of the Catholic Church in Boston was said to be just as strong as it was depicted in the movie, which accurately depicts the struggles the journalists had to go through to uncover the truth and raise awareness to the public over this long-hidden problem.