New Movie Reviews by Molly Hogan

January 20, 2016 by islandersvoice1

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Movie Reviews – Spotlight & Brooklyn by San Juan Island’s Molly Hogan

We all know the old adage: When it rains, it pours. That is certainly the case this week with 2 great films playing at the Palace Theatre. Both are in the running for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year.

Spotlight is the disturbing yet compelling story of the 2003 Pulitzer prize winning expose by the Boston Globe regarding the systemic cover-up of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Boston area. After months of investigation by the Globe’s “Spotlight” team of investigative journalists, it came to light that Cardinal Bernard Law knew about the abuse, but did nothing to protect innocent children from pedophile priests. Usually, an accused priest was simply reassigned to a new parish, where the molestation would continue. Settlements with victims happened behind closed doors, keeping everyone and everything in the dark.

This film has a great cast; Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup.

The story is more about the investigation than the crimes. It’s good to see the team determined to get to the truth of the matter. It wasn’t easy, as the Catholic Church has considerable influence in Boston. In the end, truth prevails. I always sit through the credits and recommend that you do for this film.

Brooklyn tells a heartfelt story: In 1952, a young woman leaves her family and home in Ireland, crossing the ocean to arrive in the Irish enclave of Brooklyn, New York. Traveling alone, she relies on the kindness of strangers along the way. In Brooklyn, with the help of a priest from the old country, she finds a place to live and lands a job. At this point, it seems anything and everything is possible. Now you just sit back and enjoy where this story goes.

Saoirse Ronan is radiant as the determined young woman. The supporting cast includes Jim Broadbent as the helpful priest, Julie Walters as the landlady at the boarding house, Emory Cohen as the young Italian man who likes Irish girls and Domhall Gleeson as the young man back in Ireland.

Writer Nick Hornby adapted the screenplay from the novel by Colm Toibin. I saw this on one of my off-island movie jaunts and liked it so much, I plan to see it again here in Friday Harbor. I hope you get to see it as well.

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