Adapting his Pulitzer Prize winning play, Doubt, John Patrick Shanley directs this thought provoking film with great actors, masterful dialogue and leaving you thinking the actions onscreen.
The setting takes place in 1964 Bronx Catholic school, St. Nicholas. A young, impressionable young nun, Sister James (Amy Adams) witnesses what she thinks is misconduct on the part of the progressively-minded, Father Brendan Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and an Black altar boy, Donald Miller (Joseph Foster).
Sister James confesses what she thinks she saw to the hardcore disciplinarian principal, Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep). Armed with this new information, Sister Aloysius launches a campaign to oust Father Flynn out of the Parrish.
The movie consists of basically four major scenes: the confession, the confrontation of Father Flynn, the heart-to-heart between Sister Aloysius and Mrs. Miller (Viola Davis), and the final showdown between Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius.
I will highlight one person that floored me, twice. Viola Davis who plays Mrs. Miller. Her scene was transcendent that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, what she said, and her complacency. She blew everyone away. She deserves an Oscar for this role.
The author wants to figure out, did Father Flynn have inappropriate relations with Donald Miller or not? With my eagle eyes, I looked for clues, facial expressions, voice inflections, involuntary behavior. I know with certainly that Father Flynn did it.
I also believe that he at least molested three of the kids. Look at the kids faces, their behavior. You will know.
These are the questions that I asked myself, Why did Father Flynn stuff Donald’s undershirt into his locker? In the hallway, when Father Flynn ignored Donald, Donald felt wounded? When the boys gathered together, why did Donald look longingly at the Father? Why did Jimmy (Lloyd Clay Brown) have that hurt look on his face? Why did Father Flynn single out William London (Mike Roukis) about his dirty fingernails? Why did he resign? Why did he want to ignore the question or change the subject?
The only criticism I have about this film is including the kids in the movie. It swayed my decision one way without a doubt in my mind. Some people are saying that they should have Donald’s perspective. It would be a waste of time. Donald would lie to defend Father Flynn or have an outrgeous explansion that the adults would not believe him.
This was a good film that blows a good majority of the Oscar-baity movies out of the water.
My rating: ****1/2 stars.
Posted on January 5, 2009, in 2008, Academy Award Nominee, Drama, Mystery and tagged Amy Adams, Doubt, John Patrick Shanley, Joseph Foster, Meryl Streep, Mike Roukis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.