Spotlight, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdamsMichael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo tackle some pretty controversial subject matter in their latest movie, Spotlight, which is already getting some Oscar buzz.

In the film, which is based on a true story, the three play Boston Globe journalists who investigated and exposed a child sex abuse scandal involving pedophile Roman Catholic priests in the Catholic archdiocese in Boston in 2002. Their coverage, made up of a series of some 600 articles, won a Pulitzer Prize.

Liev Schreiber plays Martin Baron, who was editor of the newspaper at the time of the investigation. He is now the executive editor of The Washington Post.

Spotlight also stars Stanley TucciBilly Crudup and Mad Men alum John Slattery plays Ben Bradlee Jr., who helped oversee The Boston Globe's investigation and whose father was the editor of The Washington Post when journalists Bob Woodward's and Carl Bernstein famously uncovered another iconic scandal; Watergate, which was depicted in the multi Oscar-winning 1976 movie All the President's Men.

Spotlight, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber

Open Road Films

Spotlight hit select theaters last week and has a wider release on Nov. 20. Check out what five critics said about the movie:

1. USA Today's Brian Truitt gives Spotlight four out of four stars and calls the movie "this generation's All the President's Men."

"No need to bury the lede: Spotlight is a masterpiece," he writes.

"The cast is excellent from top to bottom," he says. "Ruffalo is fantastic as the jittery Rezendes, who's like a watchdog with a bone, sniffing out sources and working the phones to piece together the story. Keaton gets into the thick of it, too, as the no-nonsense Robinson, and Schreiber brilliantly exhibits quiet intensity as Baron, a guy who's not afraid of shaking things up for the sake of good journalism."

Spotlight, Rachel McAdams

Open Road Films

2. The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern calls Spotlight "the year's best movie so far."

"Spotlight is a fascinating procedural; a celebration of investigative reporting; a terrific yarn that's spun with a singular combination of restraint and intensity; and a stirring tale, full of memorable characters, that not only addresses clerical pedophilia but shows the toll it has taken on its victims," he writes.

3. Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gives the film four out of four stars.

"Bravo to director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, Win Win, The Visitor), who wrote the richly detailed script with Josh Singer (The Fifth Estate)," he writes. "There's not an ounce of Hollywood bulls--t in it. Our eyes and ears are the Spotlight team, played by exceptional actors who could not be better or more fully committed."

"At times, it's hard not to choke up, but Spotlight refuses to wallow in nostalgia," he adds. "This landmark film takes a clear-eyed look at the digital future and honors the one constant that journalism needs to stay alive and relevant: a fighting spirit."

4. The Boston Globe's Ty Burr gives the movie four out of four stars.

"One of the reasons that "Spotlight" is so deeply, absurdly satisfying to this newspaper writer...is that Tom McCarthy's movie doesn't turn its journalists into heroes. It just lets them do their jobs, as tedious and critical as those are, with a realism that grips an audience almost in spite of itself," he writes.

"If you like your true-crime dramas torqued up to high RPMs, you're in for a letdown," he adds. "Most of the movie is people talking, in chairs, in meetings, on the phone. The film's action alternates between combing through dusty files and harrowing interviews with abuse victims who've given up on being heard...The performances are terribly moving; the details remain tough sledding."

5. The Christian Broadcasting Network's Hannah Goodwyn gives Spotlight 4.5 out of five stars.

"Spotlight is a revelation," she writes. "Reminiscent of Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman's All the President's Men, Spotlight delicately balances its focus on the journalists who uncover the shameful scandal, giving the story room to breathe and the survivors their voice. The film doesn't bash faith; rather it examines the possibility of belief even in the face of such wickedness."

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