‘Spotlight’ is an American drama revolving around the misconduct of Roman Catholic priests in Boston. A biographical movie directed by Tom McCarthy, it sheds light on the 2001 investigation carried out by The Boston Globe. ‘Spotlight’ bagged the Oscars 2016 award for best motion picture. In the movie, the Globe’s new editor, Marty Baron, played by Liev Schreiber, puts together a small unit of journalists to investigate a case of a priest who is accused of molesting over a hundred boys. The journalists, played by Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Macadams and Michael Keaton, go on a crusade to interview the victims and their families only to discover the atrocities committed were hidden by the church.
There have been numerous movies in the past that dealt with similar themes, and so we’ve decided to come up with a compilation of 12 such movies. So, here’s the list of best movies similar to ‘Spotlight’ that are our recommendations. You can watch several of these movies like ‘Spotlight’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. The Help (2011)
While ‘Spotlight’ focuses on the societal issue of child abuse by a powerful organization, ‘The Help’ talks about the oppression of the blacks by the whites. The movie is based on a book written by Kathryn Stockett. It is set in the year 1960, in the state of Mississippi, where African-Americans were severely mistreated in white households. The protagonist, played by Emma Stone, is a freshly graduated writer who returns to her hometown, Jackson. She decides to fight for the cause of the Blacks. She makes an unprecedented move by questioning her own race of their unfair ways. She interviews black women who work at homes of the affluent white folks in the city. The movie beautifully depicts the nuances of those who suffer from the wrath of societal conditioning.
11. The Post (2017)
Similar to Spotlight’s investigative journalism, ‘The Post’ is a gripping movie which focuses on freedom of the press while simultaneously highlighting aspects of feminism. It is based on the challenging US-Vietnam war and the rising power of the government that tried to hide the truth. The Washington Post’s new owner Mrs. Graham played by the legendary actress, Meryl Streep, is given the responsibility to uphold the nation’s civil liberties. Joining hands with a determined Ben Bagdikian, assistant editor of The Post, played by Tom Hanks, they form a small rebellion and start investigating facts of the secretive Nixon government. Mrs. Graham’s role also showcases strength and maturity in a male-dominated world in spite of being constantly undermined by her male cohorts for her lack of journalistic experience. An electrifying drama and a power packed performance by Streep and Hanks, ‘The Post’ is a must watch.
10. State of Play (2009)
Starring Ben Affleck as a hardworking Congressman and Russell Crowe as an excellent journalist, the movie is a fictional story which gets Crowe involved in the greedy world of politics. Assisted by Rachel Macadams, the two work together on a murder case of a researcher in the Congressman’s staff. They find themselves spinning with shocking facts about PointCorp, a private defense company and its associated people in the political arena. Further investigation puts both their lives in danger. The relationship between the characters played by Affleck and Crowe is explored to great depths and is often the essential part of the film. With several plot twists, ‘State of Play’ will certainly keep you on the edge of your seats.
9. No One Killed Jessica (2011)
Based on the same theme as ‘Spotlight’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ draws the life of a journalist (Rani Mukherjee) working on a case which involves the justice system of the Indian Society. Corruption amongst politicians allows a minister’s son to get away with the murder of a young woman who refuses to offer him alcohol at a bar only because it was past the closing time. The victim’s sister (Vidya Balan) fights for several years to get justice for Jessica but due to tampering of court evidence and paid-off witnesses, she loses the case. Rani Mukherjee is made aware of this issue and she uses the power of journalism to reopen the case. A gripping movie based on a true account of the Jessica Lal case, 1999, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ is an exciting watch.
8. V for Vendetta (2005)
At the time of its release, ‘V for Vendetta‘ was hailed for its stunning visuals as well as amazing script: a potent combination that marks for a great movie. The film is a set in 2032 in a dystopian world, where the British are ruled by a totalitarian government. To combat the unjust government, a man wearing a mask, popularly identified as ‘V’ (played by Hugo Weaving), uses his skilled art of martial techniques to fight crimes in Britain. He is supported in bringing down the government by his accomplice Evey, who he had once saved from getting attacked by power hungry policemen. Evey is played by the very talented Natalie Portman. A grim and a clever take on the issue of fascism, ‘V for Vendetta’ is arguably one of the greatest thriller movies ever made. This is one of those few excellent action packed movies with captivating dialogues.
7. A Time to Kill (1996)
Based on John Grisham’s top rated novel, ‘A Time to Kill’, the movie stars Hollywood’s most famous actors in a thrilling courtroom drama. A black man (played by Samuel L Jackson) avenges the rape of his young daughter by shooting down two white men who attacked her. The situation brings about a radical and worrisome change in the town of Mississippi. A fearless lawyer, played by Matthew McConaughey, defends the black man’s case. Amidst the media outrage, the White Supremacist’s terror, riots and courtroom quarrels, Matthew showcases a brilliant performance to bring the case to rest. A fantastic job done by Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey, this classic movie keeps up its intensity till the end. An encapsulating movie, ‘A Time to Kill’ highlights the relationship between justice and human existence.
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6. Argo (2012)
‘Argo‘ is a terrific film directed by the phenomenal actor, Ben Affleck. An ex-filtration specialist goes on a mission to rescue six American hostages stuck in Iran during the Iranian revolution. The CIA specialist played by Ben Affleck himself teams up with an ex-CIA-turned-Hollywood makeup artist (played by Alan Arkin) to come up with a fake movie and a well-invented script, which is based in Iran. Affleck’s role in the movie flies to Tehran in order to teach the Americans hiding in the Canadian Embassy to act as crew members of the phony movie and somehow get them aboard an aircraft. A nail-biting thriller, Ben Affleck’s subtle performance in a tumultuous environment leaves the audience jittery and glued to the cinema screen.
5. Body of Lies (2008)
‘Body of Lies’ has a cult following of its own. Leonardo DiCaprio, one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors, plays the protagonist in the movie. This movie’s suspense scale has no limit. A CIA agent, played by DiCaprio, is in search of a powerful terrorist leader in the Middle-East who is known to have planted bombs all over Europe. Caught in the middle of his CIA superior (played by the very talented actor Russell Crowe) and Jordan Intelligence, DiCaprio finds it difficult to pursue his target. A riveting piece, ‘Body of Lies’ is themed on intense feelings of deceit and distrust that confuses the viewer about each character’s intention in the movie.
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4. Concussion (2015)
‘Concussion’ is a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) nominated movie for outstanding motion picture. The story revolves around Doctor Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist, played by Will Smith. The movie presents the story of Doctor Omalu who fights against the American National Football Association that tries to discredit his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease suffered by professional football players. An essential and informative movie that is a must watch.
3. Doubt (2008)
‘Doubt’ is established on the Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-winning stage play ‘Doubt: A Parable’, written by director John Patrick Shanley himself. At St. Nicholas in Bronx, Father Flynn, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, is suspected of abusing the school’s first black child. In the year 1964, with changing political times, Father Flynn believes in maintaining discipline in the school by instilling fear amongst the students. The two sisters of the school, Sister Aloysius Beauvier, played by the evergreen Meryl Streep and Sister James, played by the ever-reliable Amy Adams, believe that Father Flynn has been paying close attention to the black child. Sister Aloysius begins to search for the truth in order to remove the Father from the school for his immoral customs. A story very well presented and an interesting concept, the movie keeps you engrossed.
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2. Citizenfour (2014)
A documentary movie, ‘Citizen 4’ is a mind-blowing piece. It involves the whistleblower Edward Snowden himself. It tells us the magnitude of National Security Agency’s involvement in worldwide surveillance that is done by tapping people’s phones and leaving no room for privacy. It gives us an idea of how the most powerful government of the modern world is tampering with basic human rights. An alarming movie and a factual one that will make the viewers think twice about using their phones.
1. Erin Brockovich (2000)
‘Erin Brokovich’ is an Academy Award winning biopic based on the life of Erin Brokovich herself and portrayed by Julia Roberts. The film was a commercial success and also received high praise from critics. The film portrays the life of an unemployed, single mother of three children who fights a multi-billion-dollar energy corporation that got away with polluting the groundwater of Hinkley, California for a long time. What makes this movie so endearing is the way Erin manages to juggle her family life and goes against all odds to discover the truth. This movie brings to light the zealous and fearless nature of a woman who serves as an inspiration to all those who come across her story.
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