Doubt (2008)


Catholic High Schools used to be so crazy.

Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) begins to have doubts about doting priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who seems to have become overly involved in the life of a young African American pupil. But Flynn isn’t the only one she doubts. Is she overreacting to the situation, or is there truth behind her convictions?

I’m so glad that I didn’t grow up in the 80’s and go to Catholic High Schools, or my ass would have beaten up on a daily basis.

So this is dapted from a stage play by writer/director John Patrick Shanley, and I must say that he does do a good transition here, but it still feels all too much like a play. There were moments here that just didn’t seem like they were just staged and not actually happening right then and there. I think it’s just me that has problem with these stage adaptations but for the most part, I can’t help but wonder when the curtain was going to come down half of the time.

However, this is one damn good screenplay. One of my favorite things about this screenplay is that it doesn’t tell you what exactly happened, but through conversation and ambiguous remakes, you kind of have to make up your own mind of what did, and what didn’t happen. There’s that certain mystery element to to this film that works here, and it keeps you guessing throughout the whole film, especially when it’s over. Debates will spark up after this, and I can’t say that I’m still not wondering what exactly happened.

It’s the top-notch cast here that really shines. I love Meryl Streep in anything she does really, and here she plays the most evil and manacle nun I think i have ever seen, in film and real-life, with Sister Aloysius. She really is the biggest bitch ever, and is so mean and cruel, but somehow you can’t take your eyes off of her, and that’s all thanks to Meryl and her amazing skills. Philip Seymour Hoffman is also here as Father Flynn who does a great job at making this character someone we like, but at the same time, someone we can’t be too sure about. I think the one scene that everybody talks about when they see this is that amazing scene where these two basically yell and holler at each other for about a half-an-hour, and I must say it was some intense ish up there. Both are two of the best working in the biz today, and they absolutely knock it out of the park. Amy Adams plays Sister James, and gives her that signature cutsie innocence that we all know her for so well. But the real show-stealer here is Viola Davis. This chick comes completley out of nowhere and with a running time of about 10 minutes, you cannot forget her after it’s over. She takes the one whole scene she has with Meryl and makes her run for her money. That, my friends, never happens.

Consensus: At times, Doubt feels a bit too staged, but the screenplay is lifted by this terrific cast, that will have you in heated discussion long after it’s over.

8/10=Matinee!!

6 comments

  1. its funny because this film was all the rage during awards season but, alas, now it is not that important. I think that says alot about a films longevity…

  2. This remains one of my favourite films of 2008, and I think it’s a real shame that what Simon said is true; I doubt (haha pun) this film will be remembered by very many, which is a shame considering it contains not one, not two but FOUR powerhouse performances

  3. I agree, Viola Davis is the best part of this movie. Some guy I was talking to called it a Capital A Acting kind of movie.

    I read the play recently, which is pretty loyal, seeing that it was adapted on screen by Shanley himself. I do want to see it on stage.

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