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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I can only imagine that being a good priest or nun in the Northeast US in the 60s was a lot like sheep navigating through a wolf pack. Doubt is all about the shuffling of pedophile priests of the Catholic church in New England. It stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the priest accused ~ Father Flynn. The accusing nun ~ Sister Aloysius is portrayed by Meryl Streep and Amy Adams plays Sister James another teacher/nun in the school.
The film is both intense, yet vague. There are no direct questions. There are no straight answers, just a lot of feelings and hunches. It's a shorter movie than I expected, and it clips along at a fairly good rate, I never found myself wondering how much longer the movie is.
I have decided, having seen now 3 Amy Adams movies (Doubt, Julie & Julia, Sunshine Cleaning) that I'm not a fan. I can't quite put my finger on it, I think it's that she always tries too hard. It always seems to me that she looks too much like she's acting. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong and she still has some amazing life changing performance in her still, she just hasn't won me over yet.
I love Streep's performance. That almost goes without saying. It's hard not to applaud her performance when so much of it is in her face alone. There are no glamorous clothes from Devil wears Prada, just Streep in a habit. She is very bare bones. But, she's great, and I love the character of Sister Aloysius, she's strong and cares a great deal about the people around her and the students in the school, and she's funny. She's a nun in the style I've heard from my dad, who attended a catholic school in Tucson. Strong but guiding.
A lot of this is religious politics, a very visible struggle from the first sermon on between Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn played by Hoffman. He gives a very strong performance, making you ponder his motives and innocence.
It's a hard movie to leave and not think about. There are a lot of questions left open. It also is a sad movie because you watch in the process of it, a great many people go through deep crises of faith. It's sad to see people lose something they believe in and that helped them.
I liked this movie and thought it was well, thought provoking.
There was a part of me that was screaming for forensics and SVU people and generally wanting more answers. Alas, this movie isn't about that. There will be no straight answers, just general vagueness. You never hear how the kid feels, or see what his home life is like. You never see any of the other kids' lives.
What I can't say about this film is what does it contribute? I could leave the film saying it was a nicely set film, the sets and costumes were spot on and appropriate. The atmosphere of the film is set, it's very middle of the fall New England, you can feel it in your bones. But, what does it contribute? That's just it, I didn't leave this film feeling anything but frustrated and disturbed. I think it was a well acted film with a sturdy cast and set but I'm not sure if I feel like I've gained anything having watched this.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this movie quite awhile ago, one some flight or another. I was hesitant, but it pulled me in. Disturbing, yes, but I like that it left me disturbed yet somewhat satisfied at the end.