“Spotlight” Venice & Telluride Reviews Round-Up

The first reviews of “Spotlight” are getting released after it’s first press & industry screenings at the Venice Film Festival and Telluride Film Festival. We will make a round-up of the first reviews in this post, and as always we will try to focus on excerpts on Rachel’s performance. The initial reaction seems very positive and we can’t wait to read more reviews! We will edit this post when more reviews are being released.

“And again, the cast, tasked with delivering all this information and making it feel natural, are remarkable, investing sometimes just the tiniest glances or the shortest of lines with an acreage of personality (it shows that most of them had met, and in some cases trailed, the real-life people they play) […] Rachel McAdams brings her typical resolute intelligence to Sacha Pfeiffer, another of Spotlight’s four-person team: whether quietly interviewing abuse victims or caught off guard coming face to face with one of the accused priests, she’s entirely human and it’s telling how often McCarthy chooses to resolve a scene on a look from her.”
Jessica Kiang, Indiewire

“With its strong narrative drive and fine cast, “Spotlight” should receive more than a fair hearing with smarthouse audiences worldwide […] As he demonstrated in films like “The Station Agent” and “The Visitor,” McCarthy has always had a nicely understated touch with actors, and his ensemble here is a model of low-key excellence. McAdams imbues Pfeiffer with sensitivity and grit.”
Justin Chang, Variety

“Spotlight goes a long way on the strength of superior acting and a crackling tale […] Ruffalo’s two main costars, McAdams and Keaton, are both strong as well, playing veteran journalists whose whole lives appear to be their work. In the past, McAdams has been wobbly in dramatic roles, but she has the right tenor for Pfeiffer, who may be the youngest of the Spotlight team but doesn’t shrink from the challenges of confronting difficult interview subjects.”
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

3/5 stars
“Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams star as Boston Globe reporters investigating accusations against priests in Tom McCarthy’s worthy, well-intentioned journalism drama […] Yet McCarthy keeps the narrative motor running, and there are some very good scenes, chiefly the extraordinary moment when Rachel McAdams’s reporter doorsteps a smilingly hospitable retired priest and asks him, flat-out, if he has ever molested a child. The resulting scene had me on the edge of my seat.”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

5 stars
“Spotlight is the story behind the story, and it’s the film equivalent of reading an especially thrilling New Yorker article: ruthlessly detailed, precise and gripping but never brash or overemotional. It’s that all-too-rare beast: a movie that’s both important and engrossing.”
Dave Calhoun, Time Out

“Forget Everest because Spotlight is the first favorite of the 2015/16 oscar season. Spotlight is up there with All The Presidents Men among the best films about investigative journalism ever made.”
Matic Majcen, Twitter @maticmajcen

“Just seen Boston Globe-Catholic church abuse drama #Spotlight in #Venice. Inspiring and handled with a proper seriousness. Brilliantly acted.”
Andreas Wiseman, Twitter @AndreasWiseman

“This taut drama from Tom McCarthy ranks among the few journalistic procedurals that deserves to be mentioned alongside “All the President’s Men” […] McAdams and Broadway star d’Arcy James disappear into their roles, and that’s a good thing.”
Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

5/5 stars
“Spotlight is very graceful in depicting with a matter-of-fact tone the daily commitment of the journalists in bringing to light the controversial story. The entire cast performs with introspective poise. The actors gently take a step back, interpreting their roles with coyness, almost not to obscure the pursuit of setting the record straight. The greatest protagonist is the case.”
Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, Den Of Geek

“Yet the honors are really collective, with all four actors replicating in their work together the kind of behavioral shorthand (no pun intended) on which all good newspaper reporters rely […] McCarthy’s direction here is low-key and invisible, allowing his actors and his muscular script (co-written with Josh Singer) to do the heavy lifting. The writing is impeccable, in presenting the warts and all of the newsroom, navigating the investigative trail, and – crucially– unveiling the real pain of the victims, who slowly step forward to reveal their stories.”
Demetrios Matheou, Indiewire

4/5 stars
“But like All The President’s Men, which was clearly a significant influence on McCarthy’s film, it finds a rich and compelling kind of anti-glamour in its depiction of journalistic spadework, and the tactile movement of analogue information through filing cabinets and photocopiers […] There’s no tidy moral to take away, because a story like this shouldn’t end in comfort. Instead, your skin’s left prickling by its deft deconstruction of the business of secret-keeping, and its perceptive setting out of the courage and diligence it takes to overturn it.”
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

“All in all it’s a compelling piece of work from McCarthy, perhaps his snappiest to date, and a definite improvement after the panning he received for The Cobbler. While it doesn’t delve as deep into its subjects as one might hope, Spotlight is a zippy, taut, and mightily distracting film.”
Rory O’Connor, The Film Stage

“I guess I can say it now: Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight is absolutely excellent. Best journalism movie since The Insider. Boston will be proud.”
Jeff Sneider, Twitter @TheInSneider

4/5 stars
“Spotlight might not have any new tricks up its sleeve, but McCarthy is happy to tell a true story and tell it well. The cast work superbly as a collective.”
Jo-Ann Titmarsh, HeyUGuys

“The right ensemble can elevate a film to greatness (see “The Grand Budapest Hotel” last year) and McCarthy is gifted with a cast that knows they are there to support a fantastic script, not supplant it. There are no overblown theatrics, no one trying to play the drama more than what it is on the page. While Ruffalo, Schrieber and McAdams are also superb it’s Keaton whose steady hand keeps you riveted to the investigation on screen (even if you know the outcome already).”
Gregory Ellwood, HitFix

4/5 stars
“All the main cast members deliver a solid interpretation.”
Filippo L’Astorina, The Upcoming

“Spotlight is Outstanding. One of the best films of the year, without a doubt. Will leave u reeling.”
Baz Bamigboye, Twitter @BazBam

4/5 stars
“Spotlight is – without sounding overzealous or too caught up in the moment – a subtle and resplendent film, shot with great acuity and substance, is tightly paced, and overflows with the types of performances that make ensemble awards relevant and necessary. If Spotlight fails to land a spot in this year’s Best Picture lineup it will be for one of two reasons: we’re in for a really, really great year, or the Academy will have dropped the ball in a major way. Spotlight is the best film I’ve seen so far this year, and is one that I imagine I’ll be watching a few more times as the awards season unfolds. I really can’t laud the film enough.”
Mark Johnson, Award Circuit

4,5/5 stars
“With a remarkably strong ensemble (made up of Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and John Slattery, among others) and a sharp, investigative pace, the film makes the real-life story behind Spotlight a wholly engrossing one.”
Darren Ruecker, We Got This Covered

“At its core, Spotlight is driven by incredible performances: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci. The performances are vitally important because we’re meant to believe and understand these people and their motivations without any second guessing. Mostly because there isn’t time to second guess. The film moves at a swift pace with a script that forces the audience to constantly be on their toes, with scenes moving in rapid succession and hardly a moment to catch your breath or figure out who’s who. But it’s that pacing that makes this work so well, because it’s such a complex story (they’re investigating) with many major players, every move they make may evoke an adverse reaction.”
Alex Billington, First Showing

3 Comments on ““Spotlight” Venice & Telluride Reviews Round-Up”

  1. “In the past, McAdams has been wobbly in dramatic roles”
    What a? When this happened I did not see ?

  2. I am also extremely excited for this movie! And if he has no Oscar nominations , I stop to watch the ceremony , it would be more than a crime !

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