Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Doubt

 

Review by Paul Edwards

Forgive the pun, but there was no doubt that Doubt has been my most anticipated movie since the summer. My expectations were sky high after reading through the play for my Multicultural Drama class. I really hoped the transition from stage to screen would be top-notch, as there were a few specific scenes I had in mind that could carry the film to Oscar glory. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. If there was a film that needed perfect casting, this was it, and every single player hit their appropriate notes.

Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), was passionate in his own defense, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), was a mad yet vulnerable disciplinarian, and then there is Sister James (Amy Adams) who plays up the sad puppy dog eyes to overflowing. To top it off, we have the icing on the cake as Viola Davis plays Mrs. Miller with more passion and energy from what I gathered from reading the play. All in all, the performances alone are reason enough to watch.

In Doubt, young innocent Sister James notices some strange actions by one of her students, Donald Miller, after he is called into the rectory for a private talk with Father Flynn. The head nun, Sister Aloysius, who has long since held a somewhat of a grudge against Father Flynn, goes on a quest…no, make that an inquisition to not only bring the man down but to save the child in the process.  

It is actually unfortunate that I was so familiar with the play, though, since the movie did not quite follow the play as written. As with all book or play adaptations, things are changed, scenes get cut, and characters perform different from the way one might picture it. In Doubt, however, in the attempt to humanize the main characters and their pursuit for truth, along the way, they almost seem lose some of their compassion and humanity. That is one of the themes to look out for. There are also slight racial themes and of course, the title gives away the biggest theme certainty, reason, and emotion and how it may or may not get in the way of facts.

This is a highly recommended film to add to your collection or watch in your favorite theater. Do not expect a lot of spectacle, just sit back and watch as some of the best in the industry take on some of the most intricate and challenging roles of the past 100 years of entertainment, whether you believe it or not. Did he do it, or not?

4 / 5 stars

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