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Movies & TV

07th Aug 2021

Spotlight director reveals power of the Irish reaction to Oscar-winning scandal movie about Catholic Church

Rory Cashin


It is inarguably one of the best movies of the last decade.

Winner of Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars, and nominated for Best Directing, Best Editing, and two nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Spotlight is one of those rare Academy darlings that continues to stand the test of time.

Featuring a host of incredible performances from the likes of Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schrieber, Billy Crudup and Richard Jenkins, it told the story of how a group of journalists and their bosses at the Boston Globe uncovered a massive scandal of child molestation, as well as the attempts to cover it up by the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Directed and co-written by Tom McCarthy, Spotlight is a powerful, brilliant watch, and for those who have already seen it, you’ll likely remember the end of the movie when the screen cuts to black and begins to list all of the locations around the world that were found to be involved in the scandal. And during those scenes, you can’t help but notice how many locations were situated in Ireland.

We recently caught up with McCarthy during the press tour for his new drama Stillwater, about a father trying to prove his daughter’s innocence for a murder she claims she didn’t commit, with many drawing comparisons to the Amanda Knox case.

You can check out our full interview with McCarthy, as well as the cast of Stillwater including Matt Damon, Camille Cottin (Call My Agent), and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) right here.

While we had the opportunity to talk to McCarthy about his new movie, we had to ask him about the specific Irish reaction to his modern classic Spotlight, and if that reaction was something he was aware of?

McCarthy told us the following:

“I get kept up, I read a bit and people reach out a lot. I went over to Ireland to do some press over there when it came out, and I could just feel it in the conversations I was having with the press.

“After screenings, people were coming up to me and there has been a real reckoning with the Catholic Church in Ireland, a place where the Catholic Church held a lot of sway, and still means a lot to a lot of people.

“And I think it is a struggle, right? And to feel like I had some small part in that movement, for lack of a better word on it, it is very heartening. It was a wonderful experience in dealing with a very painful issue. I take that seriously, and I am moved to know that it has some impact.”

Spotlight is available to watch on Prime Video right now.

Stillwater is released in Irish cinemas on Friday 6 August.

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