Doubt (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Feb 3 2009

Thou shalt not laugh while watching ‘Doubt’ but thou shalt have lots of ideas relating to character judgement, self-belief and the conviction that one is right and wrong in the face of evidence or lack of it. The playwright John Patrick Shanley wrote his prizewinning play ‘Doubt’, which he has now adapted and directed for cinema, during the early stages of the Iraq war, and the shadow of the justifications and assumptions that led to that conflict hang heavily over this austere drama.

That austerity emerges partly from Shanley’s no-nonsense telling and partly from the setting: a Catholic school and its sister church in the Bronx in the early 1960s, where fierce Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep, hooded, pale-faced, red-eyed, looking like an evil, hungover sparrow) runs a tight ship in conflict with the warmer demeanour and more liberal attitude of the institution’s priest, the clubbable Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman). When a younger nun, Sister James (Amy Adams) suspects, on the back of little evidence, that the priest is having an inappropriate relationship with the school’s only black pupil, Donald Miller (Joseph Foster), Aloysius is determined to force Flynn from the school. Is Flynn guilty? Is Aloysius as convinced by Flynn’s guilt as she appears? If not, why does she behave as she does?

There are no easy answers, which is refreshing, and Shanley allows little to get in the way of strong performances and a tight line of argument, even if, in his attempt to embrace the ‘cinematic’ he indulges a few too many shots of storms beating at windows and lightbulbs threatening to fail. Empathy is one of the dramatist’s slyest weapons and Shanley uses it wisely, leading us between our two leads, releasing and suppressing information but never spoon-feeding us. We’re allowed to make up our own minds, both about Flynn’s ‘crime’ and the nature of the debate itself.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Feb 6, 2009

Duration:

104 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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LiveReviews|12
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Budd Greco

Was not originally drawn to this movie...Meryl Streep faided after out of Africa ,and priest and Nun movies and normally my thing..But go I went...AND HOW GLAD I AM THAT I DID. This is a fabulous movie...the 104 minutes seemed like 15..the performances were acting at it`s best..LESS IS MOST DEFINATELY MORE..The script is strong the acting riveting with the result that the mivie does not have any weak points that need to be jazzed up or glossed over..Why this movie is so good I rwally cannot say..Simple story, simple basic philosophy,no earth shattering events..but a must see just the same..the link or thread call it what you may is so subtle that it reaches out..grabs you leaved you almost breathless...At the end of the day a good movie plot is like comparing Meercats..SIMPILS

Budd Greco

Was not originally drawn to this movie...Meryl Streep faided after out of Africa ,and priest and Nun movies and normally my thing..But go I went...AND HOW GLAD I AM THAT I DID. This is a fabulous movie...the 104 minutes seemed like 15..the performances were acting at it`s best..LESS IS MOST DEFINATELY MORE..The script is strong the acting riveting with the result that the mivie does not have any weak points that need to be jazzed up or glossed over..Why this movie is so good I rwally cannot say..Simple story, simple basic philosophy,no earth shattering events..but a must see just the same..the link or thread call it what you may is so subtle that it reaches out..grabs you leaved you almost breathless...At the end of the day a good movie plot is like comparing Meercats..SIMPILS

oldbrit

Caught up with this movie late. I was unsurprised that it got a number of Oscar nominations. Very gripping and thought provoking.

oldbrit

Caught up with this movie late. I was unsurprised that it got a number of Oscar nominations. Very gripping and thought provoking.

Madison

I really enjoyed this.. it avoids the temptation to be sensationalist given the subject matter and focuses more on the characters' struggle to preserve their own conflicting ideal of the status quo. Amy Adams is fast becoming of one of my favourite actresses. Not sure I agree with this reviewer about there being a "few too many shots of storms beating at windows" - kind of thought it was reminiscent of the winds in the ultimate nun-flick Black Narcissus.

Madison

I really enjoyed this.. it avoids the temptation to be sensationalist given the subject matter and focuses more on the characters' struggle to preserve their own conflicting ideal of the status quo. Amy Adams is fast becoming of one of my favourite actresses. Not sure I agree with this reviewer about there being a "few too many shots of storms beating at windows" - kind of thought it was reminiscent of the winds in the ultimate nun-flick Black Narcissus.

mary

Not as good as expected from the hype. Did not even think Meryl Streep was at her best. Certainly not a must-see.

Mitch

Michale Harris (not verified) says: Is anyone able to enlighten me with their opinion on why Father Flyn made a point of telling the boys he had clean nails and that this made it okay to wear them long? This seemed to be highlighted so I assume it was significant in some way. Could this have been a comment meant to 'groom' them - insinuating that something might seem wrong but would be acceptable under certain conditions...? Perhaps I am reading too much into it. I went to a Catholic boys school and remember a certain priest whose various comments and actions that in retrospect place some 'doubt' as to what his intentions were. A movie was once screened at school assembly warning about 'stranger danger'. Afterward once back in the classroom, he said casually that in his opinion noone could make a boy take his pants off unless the boy wanted to. Meanwhile at confession, he was far more interested on whether you played with yourself than how many times you disobeyed your parents. There was one incident where he told me to tell my mother I needed to come in to school on a Saturday to work on a school project. Once there, he took me to lunch and a movie. While I can't say his motives in this case were sinister, I would say at least inapproriate. Perhaps more went on with some of the other lads. Confusingly, he was also the most popular teacher at the school and a nice guy. I was very shy and sensetive, and possibly he suspected I would one day become the homosexual that I am. Maybe it was nice having the attention. Perhaps our school could have done with a sister Aloysius.

Mitch

Michale Harris (not verified) says: Is anyone able to enlighten me with their opinion on why Father Flyn made a point of telling the boys he had clean nails and that this made it okay to wear them long? This seemed to be highlighted so I assume it was significant in some way. Could this have been a comment meant to 'groom' them - insinuating that something might seem wrong but would be acceptable under certain conditions...? Perhaps I am reading too much into it. I went to a Catholic boys school and remember a certain priest whose various comments and actions that in retrospect place some 'doubt' as to what his intentions were. A movie was once screened at school assembly warning about 'stranger danger'. Afterward once back in the classroom, he said casually that in his opinion noone could make a boy take his pants off unless the boy wanted to. Meanwhile at confession, he was far more interested on whether you played with yourself than how many times you disobeyed your parents. There was one incident where he told me to tell my mother I needed to come in to school on a Saturday to work on a school project. Once there, he took me to lunch and a movie. While I can't say his motives in this case were sinister, I would say at least inapproriate. Perhaps more went on with some of the other lads. Confusingly, he was also the most popular teacher at the school and a nice guy. I was very shy and sensetive, and possibly he suspected I would one day become the homosexual that I am. Maybe it was nice having the attention. Perhaps our school could have done with a sister Aloysius.

Nina

Meryl Streep is astonishingly brilliant in this taut, superbly executed film. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I think this is the best film I've seen this year (and I have seen "Slumdog, which I loved, despite the poverty porn.) I'm tired of hearing about Kate Winslet (wonderful, but way over-hyped and in desperate need of a publicity vacation) and Anne (are you kidding me?) Hathaway; Meryl Streep deserves the Oscar.

Nina

Meryl Streep is astonishingly brilliant in this taut, superbly executed film. I realize I'm in the minority here, but I think this is the best film I've seen this year (and I have seen "Slumdog, which I loved, despite the poverty porn.) I'm tired of hearing about Kate Winslet (wonderful, but way over-hyped and in desperate need of a publicity vacation) and Anne (are you kidding me?) Hathaway; Meryl Streep deserves the Oscar.

Fatli

This movie is not only about the doubts over whether Father Flynn is guilty or not. It also generated doubts over Sister Aloysius' believes and herself. Big credits to both Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman stunning performances in this movie; making it a dramatic yet subtle thriller. Paying attention to every details and speeches in the movie make it even more enjoyable to watch. This is one of the good movie this year.