Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Doubt. C+

Despite its strong cast I didn't care much for 'Doubt,' based off the stage play by John Patrick Shanley (who also wrote and directed the film adaptation). It's one of those movies that doesn't really have any major flaws yet just didn't work for me. It's wonderfully made with a simple production design located mainly in a school captured elegantly by master cinematographer Roger Deakins. And the cast doesn't disappoint either; Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who plays Father Flynn, a priest suspected of making improper advances on a young black boy, Merryl Streep as Sister Aloysius, the austere nun (she seems like a bit of a stereotype of the school master nuns around Vatican II) who suspects the priest, and Amy Adams as the naive yet thoughtful young sister who's not really on anyone's side. Streep is good, more for her facial expressions than her dialogue, while Hoffman and Adams are quite perfect in their roles. It's up to us to decide whether Father Flynn is guilty or not. But that's not really the point. It's more what rights of suspicion we can have when sufficient evidence is not present. It's also a study of Streep's character, who, as Adams says, 'you just don't like him.' It's clear that Sister Aloysius' opinions are biased. But at the same time, Father Flynn looks just guilty enough for us to have some agreement with Sister Aloysius. I'd like to go on talking about 'Doubt,' which is intriguing to think about even if I didn't exactly like it. But there would be some futility in that seeing as a conclusion would be almost impossible to reach. Alas, that's why it's called 'Doubt.'

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