Jul 15, 2012

Doubt, 2008

Doubt, 2008
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Cast: Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

Stage: Home theatre, late Saturday TV selection

Doubt in short: It's 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, is trying to upend the schools' strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline. The winds of political change are sweeping through the community, and indeed, the school has just accepted its first black student, Donald Miller. But when Sister James, a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her guilt-inducing suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. Now, without a shard of proof besides her moral certainty, Sister Aloysius locks into a battle of wills with Father Flynn which threatens to tear apart the community with irrevocable consequences.

Preps: I have seen this piece at the movies. Very controversial. and once Maryl Streep has a negative role. I am ready to see it again, as I accidently caught it on TV...

Reality: Well, the movie speaks about thing noone feels the need to discuss in public. Meryl Streep in role of sister Aloysius, the devil and the god in one person, the one that knows all the rules by heart and is ready to follow them no matter the cost. And victims that come alongside. 
This piece is a true shifter in mindset. It tells exactly the story that gossip can lead to. This harsh sister is mislead by a younger nun, who claims seeing the new Father in their saint institution, being in a wrong role towards a young student. Now, she doesn't have any proof, however the hunch and feeling she has when overhearing and overseeing something are so strong, she claims a strong position and tells it to the peace and order maker in the church.
Sister Aloysius is as strict as she grew up in the old ages. She does the best she can to chase Father Flynn out of the convint and community. The tools she uses are not a subject to question. She needs them in order to get the right thing in front of God. And she needs Father Flynn to resent his sins.
Obviously the movie doesn't serve with the fact (did he do it or didn't he do it), but you are left to your own conclusion. Now, the more intense the story gets, when the rasist differences try to appear in front of the viewer. The boy is black which makes the whole thing a bit more controversial. Believer or not, you get yourself into thinking about all the sins that are really happening in the church, being lead by the great church leaders, never proven, never having them in front of a real judge to face the consequences.
In this case, the "doubt" remains. Is he guilty or not. Does this really matter? Or is this a game to face the winner of the community, in this case a fight between men and women? The movie poses several directions the viewer can look up to and neither one comes to a conclusion.
I love Streep in a bit negative role, Seymour is brilliant too. He looks as if he was a gay priest, looking his way into a new, progressive church. In my mind, the whole movie, as I watch it, he is the innocent guy. This much I admire the strong push Streep is giving here. You will love the drama, caused by the two, and the negative energy that makes them brilliant in this piece. And for sure, you won't want to step into a holy institution for at least some time.

My personal rating: 7,0 (a solid holy spectacle, trying to be a serious drama.)

Doubt on IMDB

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