Doubt (2008)

Doubt (2008)
Dir. John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, etc.

I recommend this to Kevin, first; then Tony, Mitchell, Chris and John. This is definitely a film that offers a lot for discussion. I think Joel, Jill and Don might like this, but this is not a film that makes me think of them. I saw this with Penny, Grace and Larri. Penny loved the film, and Grace liked it, too. Larri didn’t care for it. I don’t know how I will rate this film yet, but I can say a few things about it, which I will do in the next section.

The film is about an authoritarian nun and principal of a parochial shool, Sister Aloysius (Streep) accusing a priest, Father Flynn (Hoffman) of inappropriate relations with one of the students. Caught in the middle is an innocent nun, Sister James (Adams). The film is based on a play written by the director, and it feels like a play.

The film is very dense, stuffed with a variety of social and political themes. Because of this, it’ll take me some time to sort out all the themes and the point of view of the filmmaker, which I think is very prominent in this film (as opposed to the characters). I can say that Shanley avoids painting simplistic and predictable characters.

As for the acting, I have seen at least one review excerpt raving about the performances. I found the performances, particularly Hoffman and Streep’s performance to be too theatrical and obvious. In other words, I didn’t think the acting was that great, although it may have played better on stage than the screen. This is barely a review of the film, but, as I mentioned, it’ll take a while to really absorb and understand the film.

So I caught Doubt a couple of days ago with my parents, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the movie! The trailer had me thinking that the acting would be heavy-handed, but it didn’t feel that way while watching the movie. What was really weird was how my parents and I left with differing opinions as to what was being said, who was guilty of what in the end. And I’m still uncertain about Streep’s character’s final comment. Great movie, though. Not a feel-good one by any stretch of the imagination, but something definitely worth mulling over.

1 Response to “Doubt (2008)”

  1. pen

    I really, really liked this film. Why did I like it so much? Because:

    1. It was complex and layered.
    2. The performances of the actors were on-point.
    3. It had the “feel” of a stage play.
    4. The power between the main characters ebbed and flowed.
    5. It was not heavy-handed or “preachy.” (subtle)
    6. It engaged me just enough to buy into the story, but not so much that I was unable to maintain some kind of intellectual/emotional distance (which makes it such a great discussion film!)
    7. I did not feel manipulated (to feel or react a certain way).

    Some may argue that the acting was much like “ACTING! Ah-ha!” (i.e., the Jon Lovitz character on SNL), but I liked it. I believed some of the over-the-top stuff (esp. by Meryl Streep) because of how repressed she had to be the rest of the time. She was like a simmering volcano that occasionally blasted firey lava, and woe be to anyone unlucky enough to be in her path.

    Definitely one of the best in 2008.

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.