While most may have craved for a bowl of halo-halo to combat the heat or an ice-filled glass of soda to quench their thirst on that warm Saturday afternoon, I, on the other hand, was craving for a good movie. I haven’t seen one in a long while, a foreign movie specifically, and that particular afternoon I wanted to watch one.
However, I had no particular movie in mind so I decided to browse on YouTube for some recommendations and searched: TOP 10 MOVIES of 2015. I clicked on one post and a few seconds later I was already watching trailers of the top rated movies released by various Hollywood Film Studios last year.
But for some reason, none of the supposed TOP 10 movies which includes one starred by Leonardo DiCaprio and another which starred Matt Damon, appealed to me, and I felt like I was searching for something but I didn’t exactly know what.
After the top 10 ranked movie trailers, came those that were rated only as “Honorable Mentions” and surprisingly, two of them caught my attention: the SciFi EX MACHINA and a movie based on true accounts, SPOTLIGHT. I immediately went to my favorite “movie library site” and downloaded the two movies. It took almost three hours to download both films so I decided to postpone watching until after dinner so I could still attend to some errands while the sun is still up.
I am fond of both Science Fiction and True Story Movies but the latter interests me more, so right after finishing dinner I went on to watch SPOTLIGHT. And in the next two hours or so, my eyes were glued to the monitor.
SPOTLIGHT, as I would learn later, is the name of the investigative unit of the american newspaper, The Boston Globe, and the film was about this one particular project of the team, an investigation that would later lead to the unraveling of widespread and systemic child abuses by a significant number of Catholic priests in the Boston area, whose existence is believed to have been tolerated by the church’s hierarchy. It was a scandal that rocked the Roman Catholic Church in the early part of the new millennium.
But while the film is mainly about the sexual abuses committed by an alarming number of priests in the area, like most movies, it also tries to express and communicate to its audience an underlying message. There were quite a few lines verbalized by some characters in the film that made a rather strong impact on me that even up until the closing credits rolled up, I found myself still staring at the screen, albeit blankly, as I tried to bring those lines in the general context of society.
“… the church is an institution, made of men, it’s passing. My faith is in the eternal. I try to separate the two…”
We all belong to or are involved in a certain institution one way or another and we may know of other institutions as well. It could be religion, school, employer, etc. and we may strongly believe and adhere to its doctrines or advocacies. But on instances where those occupying the seat of power or influence in these institutions would figure in controversies or scandals, our tendency would be to create an absolute and direct equation that the leader is the institution and immediately pass judgment which may shatter our original positive concept of it. But we have to realize that although there exist a relationship between the two, they actually are separate entities and different from each other.
“… the church wants us to believe it’s just a few bad apples, but it’s a much bigger problem than that…”
Our own version of this would be “ it’s an isolated case” or the most common and timely “ it’s politically motivated”. That’s how usually institutions or famous personalities would defend themselves against their attackers if only to downplay the gravity of the accusations casted on them even though many of us would know that the allegations are true most of the time. These people would maximize the use of their resources to blur the real picture and persuade other people to believe their version of the truth.
“… but we cannot just throw out all the good he’s doing over a few bad apples…”
A classic application of the Machiavellian concept “ the end justifies the means’. Sometimes, if something is of our benefit or on our favor, we tend to tolerate whatever wrong is done in the process for as long as we benefit from the end result. It is easy for us to look the other way even though we know something is not right because we know that all else would be on our favor.
“… if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one…”
At times we could be so engrossed with all our positive agenda and our inspiring advocacies to make better the lives of others that we try to address their needs in our own terms and conditions. In the process we become indifferent to their other concerns which could be far more real and important to them than those that we perceived to be. In the end, we could actually be doing more harm than good and our effort to help may make their lives even more miserable.
“… sometimes it’s easy to forget that we spend most of our time stumbling around the dark. Suddenly a light gets turned on, and there’s a fair share of blame to go around…”
Yeah, almost always, nobody wants to take responsibility when something goes wrong. It is always easy to point finger on others and some people could be self righteous and assuming. It is always easy to notice that one tiny speck of dirt on someone else’s face not knowing that ours may be painted with mud all over.
The film for me, is a reflection of how society could get rotten at times. It mirrors the tendency of most people to be tolerant even to the most appalling crimes for as long as it does not directly affect them or their interests. It also showed that our action, reaction or inaction over things can have a deep impact on the lives of others without us realizing it.
A few bad apples, yes, but our tolerance to their crimes and our indifference to their victims, however inadvertently, make us the worms that devour their meat and rot the whole basket.
We have free will and it is our choice. It is always our choice. And for that, we ought to be very discerning.
The following Monday, over the evening news, I learned that SPOTLIGHT earned the nod of the Academy Jurors and was given the Oscar for Best Picture.
And I couldn’t agree more.
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