Doubt – A Butting of Heads


Starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams
Directed by John Patrick Shanley
Rated PG-13 for thematic material
Appropriate for ages 13+

    In 1964, Sister Aloysius (Streep), the head of an all-boys school, accuses Father Flynn (Hoffman) of having an inappropriate relationship with the school’s only black student.  Without any proof of wrong doing on his part, she goes head-to-head with the priest at a period of time when her actions could damage both her career and her reputation. 

    Taken from the Tony Award-winning Broadway play by the same writer/director, Doubt is just as powerful on the big screen as it was on stage.  And just like on the stage, it’s the performances more than anything else that impress.  Here, Streep and Hoffman are terrific as they try to figure out how to take the other one down without damaging themselves.  Even the supporting cast turn in remarkable performances.  We could very well see three or maybe even four Oscar nominations for acting come from this film.

    While the performances, writing, and directing are all working on a high level, I just didn’t feel a connection with this film.  Maybe it’s because I knew the play going into it or maybe it’s just for the simple fact that I didn’t attend a Catholic school, but I viewed this film with an intellectual eye and it never got to me emotionally.  I almost felt like I was judging an acting contest.  While I would give the team high scores, the film never connected like Benjamin Button or Slumdog Millionaire.  That is a true problem with seeing so many great films in the month of December – you can’t love them all.  This one I merely liked.  A-