Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to


By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Powerful, intense film about Boston church abuse scandal.

Movie R 2015 128 minutes
Spotlight Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 12+

A Powerful Film

This is what kids should watch. This is important, moving, rage-inducing, and heartbreaking, but it tells the facts as presented. Kids NEED to know about this, about what these men did, how the Catholic Church let them get away with it, and how the men at the top were never punished.
age 13+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Put simply, this drama will likely make journalists want to be better at their job and Catholics either quit or commit themselves to making the church do better. It's that thought-provoking. Told with few flourishes -- relying instead on fine storytelling, a strong script, and a deliberate-but-insistent pace -- Spotlight immediately feels timeless, telling an All the President's Men-like story with the same gravitas and intelligence as that classic.

Credit goes primarily to the stellar cast, a disciplined group that doesn't give into the usual over-acting that hobbles some "prestige movies." Kudos also to screenwriter Josh Singer, who has approached the subject matter with palpable care and empathy. Spotlight makes viewers think about how an unquestioning faith in institutions may not just be inadvisable, but devastating.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate