Doubt (John Patrick Shanley) 2008

It kind of seems silly to give a synopsis of the plot since it seems most of you are aware of the movie but here goes.  Doubt is set in 1964 in a Catholic school.  Young and naive Sister James (Amy Adams) tells the strict and proper Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) she believes Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) has singled out a young black student for sexual abuse.  Next follows a battle of words between Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn to determine the truth.

Doubt is simply put a good story well told.  Lets get the talk of the acting out of the way: its wonderful.  Hoffman and Streep are heavyweights, and they do what they do best.  They both fit in their roles and give each line perfectly.  As I said on another thread I think the surprise who actually beats out Hoffman and Streep is Amy Adams.  Look at her role and just exactly what she has to do and what emotional notes she has to hit and you will see what I mean.  A less capable actress would make it a campy wacky role but Adams makes James funny and compelling.

A choice I am not so sure about is the decision to make Shanley the director.  True, he wrote the screenplay and you figure he would be the best person to adapt it.  And to his credit he does a competent job in directing.  Whenever you have a play adapted to a movie, you know your not exactly going to get sweeping vistas, trick camera shots, or anything visually stunning.  However I think sometimes you need a fresh set of eyes to bring something new to the table and take it from being merely an adaptation to a great work which will stand the test of time.

But I am going off on a tangent.  The story is interesting, the acting is fantastic, and plenty to bring viewers back for multiple viewing.  Great movie?  Sure.  Among the best of the year?  Ehhhh I’m not sure if I would go that far.  It might make my top 10 at the end of the year.  There are some faults with the movie, but I still strongly recommend it.


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