Film Review – Doubt

“Doubt” the movie is based on the play written by John Patrick Shanley called “Doubt: A Parable,” which is a story about stubbornness, misunderstandings and, of course, doubts. Sister Aloysius, a nun stuck in the traditional ways of things in a quickly changing world, is a principle at a Catholic school in the Bronx. One day Sister James brings up an incident, which in turn encourages some suspicions Sister Aloysius has already been thinking and she decides to go out on her own to find the truth behind one the church’s Priests. The cast includes Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius, Amy Adams as Sister James (a bright eyed and sweet teacher who kinda’ starts the whole thing), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Flynn (the suspected Priest) and Viola Davis as Mrs. Miller (one of the student’s mother).

- The Words – Since the movie is based on a play it already has a great foundation of words, but in particular the dialogue is realistic. And because the majority of the movie is words (a.k.a – not a whole lot really happens, they just talk about it) it’s a darn good thing "words" is one of its strong suites.

- Great Characters – I’m always impressed when I see an actor in a role that I’ve never really seen them in before. This is particularly true for Streep and Hoffman. But the characters of “Doubt” are very well defined and lifelike yet don’t react in predictable/clichéd ways. It’s a little hard to describe actually.

- Compelling – At first glance the story may seem to be about a single African American student and an inappropriate relationship with a Priest, but that’s not the real story of “Doubt.” But the writer John Patrick Shanley (who wrote both the play and the screenplay) is far more clever and reveals a much deeper social issue.

- The Pacing – It’s quite clear that this was originally a piece of theater. It’s a little slower than most movies these days.

- The End Ruins it All – Never in my life has the last 3 words of a movie pissed me off more. Never have the last three words completely ruined a movie for me. That is until I watched “Doubt.” And it’s heartbreaking that they are spoken by such an accomplished actor - Meryl Streep.

“Doubt” is very real but complicated. Believable and not cliché. Intriguing but a little hard to watch the potentially career ending events unfold (career ending for a character, not an actor). It’s definitely a character based film. I think writers would really like it. But just do yourself a favor and turn your TV off at the end when Amy Adams sits next to Meryl Streep on a bench in the snow. You’ll like the movie a lot more that way.
"Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra
So may the prayers, tranquilizers and JD be with you and see you next time.

1 comment:

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