Running Time: 104 minutes
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Viola Davis
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley
Rating: 7 out of 10
A Father is questioned about his relationship with a 12 year old boy at a Catholic school.
I can remember when I was a kid I used to hate Meryl Streep movies with a passion. It is funny with a lot of years and a LITTLE maturing, that I can now fully appreciate her greatness. Doubt is the story of a Catholic school in the Bronx. Taking place in 1964, the story surrounds the tale of a priest’s relationship with a troubled 12 year old student. That relationship's appropriateness comes into question by the stern and strict school principal.
This is truly a film guided by brilliant acting. Father Brendan Flynn is played perfectly by Philip Seymour Hoffman. He is an very likeable character in a place of dullness. His easy smile and caring ways cover up his odd attributes (like long finger nails). You are rooting for his side because he seems friendly and kind. Sister Beauvier is played by Meryl Streep and she also nails the part (which is a huge surprise.) She is exactly what you think of when picturing a strict nun. She has a never smiling visage and is always vigilant in the ways of god. Few people could have been on par with Streep’s performance, but Hoffman is a rare breed of actor. So the two of them fight, yell, banter, and have a battle of wits as they try and prove their individual cases. The contest of wills is what will enthrall the viewer as your belief of what actually happened wavers. They are supported very well by Amy Adams playing the nice/naïve Sister James, and Viola Davis playing the 12 year old's mother. The four actors mesh cohesively with their unique personalities and personal opinions, making Doubt one of the best acted movies in 2008. If I was to recommend a movie solely for acting performances than Doubt would easily make the list.
The film continues to be slow as it carries along but that is hardly noticeable as you will be so caught up in what actually happened between Father Flynn and the 12 year old boy. As more answers come to light it only intensifies the situation between the characters. A sex scandal that could tear the very school apart is gripping in its delivery and very real in its presentation. Will you side with Father Flynn? Or will you side with Sister Beauvier? Watch to find out and you will not be left disappointed. This is a film rife with deceit and secretiveness that leaves you thinking about it long after it is over.
Director and writer John Patrick Shanley puts forth a great effort in this film. With only the movie Joe versus the Volcano on his directing resume (Should have won best picture that year), it is shocking he put forth such a realistic drama. The long shots of unedited dialogue make the movie realistic and tense. The casting is perfect and the setting is dark and ominous. With so much dialogue a film like this can easily get bogged down, but the story is so intriguing that this never happens. Shanley brought this fantastic group of actors together and shot a Oscar quality film.
I give this movie a recommendation and if you have any doubt about watching this film…don’t.
T Factor – If you appreciate films for great acting performances than this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you need fast paced films than this could score lower on the rating scale.