Tuesday, February 3, 2009


A popular and friendly priest is suspected by the head nun of sexually molesting a black alter boy. Sister Beauvier accuses the Father Flynn of the crime she suspects he has committed, while he vehemently denies his guilt. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse in which the lines of truth are grayed and blurred. Things become even more complicated when Sister Beauvier learns from the boy’s mother that the boy, who is very bonded to Father Flynn, is gay. The characters as well as the audience begin to question their ability to ascertain the truth in a world shrouded by secrecy and the protocols of formality.

Written and Directed by John Patrick Shanley and based on a play by the same name, the story line is very artfully contrived. The interesting thing about both the play and the movie is that it is up to the audience to decide whether or not the purported acts that took place are fact or fiction. This makes Doubt one of those movies that is not meant to merely be watched but to be experienced. It is a heavy movie. It’s the kind of movie you will think about and ponder over for many days or weeks after having watched it. If you like movies that make you a different person after watching them, then you will appreciate this film.

There are several great performances in this film. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep are both exceptional in their roles as hunter and hunted.

Hoffman is expert at playing a progressive-minded man who is obviously wracked a torturous secret. Whether he is a very principled man, or a very sneaky manipulative liar is left to the audience’s interpretation.

Meryl Streep is eccentric yet very human in her role as the mean, terrorizing nun who is willing to do anything to keep her flock in line. For her the ends justify the means. Streep adds a sense of pathos and humanity to a character that would otherwise appear simply cruel, backwards, and unsympathetic.

Other great performances are that of Amy Adams who plays the seemingly innocent and na├»ve character of the boy’s teacher, Sister James. She gives a very layered performance as well as a woman who struggles with her true belief in the supremacy of goodness and love in the face of all that is going on around her.

Another actress of high merit is Viola Davis who plays the boy’s mother. She has a very powerful scene with Meryll Streep in which she pleads with the Sister to stop investigating her son and the priest's involvement. She is great at playing the role of a woman who has endured the reality of life's injustice and indignities and is desperately fighting for her child’s well-being and future the best way she knows how.

This movie has great performances and is freaking phenomenal in terms of writing and direction. There is a saying that all great art leaves the viewer a different person after watching it and this movie does just that.

If you liked this movie you may also enjoy the following:

Capote, The Devil Wears Prada, Catch Me If You Can, I Confess, Mystic River, Moonstruck.

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