Genres: Drama, Adaptation and Politics/Religion
Running Time: 1 hr. 44 min.
Release Date: December 12th, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material.
Distributors: Miramax Films
Directed by: John Patrick Shanley
JJ Rating: A+
St. Nicholas has a pecking order and the principle of the school is at the very top and her name is Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep). She is feared by all the students because of her bellowing tone and her eyes that burrow holes through you should she stare too long. Sister James (Amy Adams) tells her that Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has been paying attention to a little boy. This starts Sister Aloysius on a task that she will see through for her moral compass tells her what is and isn’t right; but there is a cost and she must be careful. Doubt.
The subtleties in this film are numerous and without a doubt one of the nuances that make this movie. It all rests solely on the shoulders of the actors (just like on the stage) to make the film become powerful, meaningful and memorable. There are moments where there is a partial smile, a swift move of the hands, no laughing when there’s much laughter, tears in anger, window open, outburst…there’s so much to partake in this film that it’s one that could be seen again and notice something that was not noticed prior.
The acting in Doubt is without a doubt perfection. Amy Adams is sweet and endearing but slowly transforms as the film goes on into someone who is guilt ridden and upset. When you see this movie pay attention to the eyes. There is so much going on in all the actor’s eyes it’s mind blowing. Amy Adams has such pretty eyes but there’s so much pain in them at points and it just is completely impressive. Philip Seymour Hoffman also has those intense eyes as well as his powerful performance at the pulpit that tell the story from within are great moments. He is one of the rare actors that just takes a character and becomes that character so well that you forget every character he was prior because he is Father Flynn. There is no question. Viola Davis plays Mrs. Miller the mother of the boy in question. Two scenes is all she has and I bet no one forgets her part. It burns into one’s memory. Thinking back on it she is the only one that I think held her own against Streep and then took the scene as hers. Finally Meryl Streep. She is unbelievably good. Here demeanor, her scoffing, her yelling, demanding, assurance is just riveting as well as Oscar winning. I cannot imagine anyone getting that Oscar nod and win for Best Actress other than her. She owned that movie in every scene that did not have Davis. Well Streep and Davis have a seen in the principle’s office and Streep has that one. But then there’s the second one where they are outside walking and that goes to Davis. So Streep has every scene but one. I would see this film again because she is that good and it’s nothing but talking.
Hoffman and Streep have a scene together and it’s powerful. It’s like two dueling gods in a room and it sets the entire theater on alert. The verbal blows from one to the other are vicious and damning that it’s breath taking. It’s like seeing the sunset and being in awe.
Doubt is a great film. It’s just conversation, after conversation, after conversation, after conversation and it out does movies that have action in spades. John Patrick Shanley directing made it that way. From the stage to the big screen and it translated so well and, I can only imagine, just as powerful. The pacing of this film, as it’s the theme of these seven, is fantastic. It was perfect. Thanks to a pro at the helm, of course.
The lines were perfection. They toyed with what was going on in the minds of the characters as well as what was actually happening. There was no out right statement of what was or what is which is why the title of the movie/play Doubt is the only thing right on point. There’s darkness about this film and even in the dark there is moments to laugh as well as feel the sting of the biting wit and the backlash of deep thought that sounds profound but at the same time very painful when applied.
Doubt will show that acting is back in movies again and how grand the film is when the four main actors in the film are on top of their game 110%. It’ll give you chills if you are an avid moviegoer. It set me in awe the entire time. I was glued to my seat and my eyes were glued to the screen. I could very well own this DVD when it is released. It’s just like that scene in Michael Clayton (at the end) that got Tilda Swinton her nod and Oscar win, except it’s for the entire hour and 44 minutes of the film. I have to make up one new word to describe how great it is and pair it up with a real word: undoubtedly awe-tastic. It’s that good.