Sunday, January 4, 2009


Movie name: Doubt
Year of release: 2008
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Stars: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Alice Drummond
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6

"Doubt" is the adaptation of a very successful stage play that director John Patrick Shanley wrote and directed on Broadway. The film takes place in 1964, a year after the assassination of President Kennedy, and follows the lives of some intervenients of a catholic school run by nuns. Sister Aloysius is the strict principal, nicknamed "dragon" due to her rigorous and dictating style. Sister James is a more liberal teacher, one that tries to be kind and understanding and Father Flynn hovers as a more progressive and modern figure. When Sister James suspects of wrongful behavior towards a student from Father Flynn, she confides her questions and suspicions to Sister Aloysius, that proceeds with her indomitable will to find the truth behind the situation. The film certainly shows it's theatrical roots, and even though the theme is rich and is pertinent as ever, never really gets profoundly examined. The three main characters brace themselves for the storm, and question each other and themselves, and Doubt does appear, but the film itself feels almost too restrained. One of the more interesting characters ends up being the mother of the young student, one that understands all too well the nature of her child, and one that hopes he manages to survive it all. The film manages to capture the viewer mostly because of the intensity of it's actors. Meryl Streep once again is fantastic, as is Philip Seymour Hoffman. Their battle is intense and ferocious. Amy Adams conveys the innocence and ingenuity of the young sister and Viola Davis is terrific as the mother trying to protect her child. "Doubt" is an actor's film, one that allows them to shine, but it's themes needed a stronger vision.