Doubt seeks truth in unjust world

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A scene from Doubt

Directed by: John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis

4 stars

Doubt, a film adaptation of the Broadway production Doubt: A Parable, blows the audience away with a star-studded cast including Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, writer/producer of the Broadway show, the story takes place in 1964 at St. Nicolas School in the Bronx during a time of much political and societal change. The school is headed by Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Streep), a strict old-fashioned nun, and Father Flynn (Hoffman), a charming young priest looking to bring change to the church. Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn’s conflicting values and beliefs collide causing drama throughout the film.

When Sister Aloysius suspects Father Flynn of unjust behaviour, she asks the other nuns to pay attention to his relationship with the students. Sister James (Amy Adams), a young nun, approaches Sister Aloysius when she notices an unusual relationship between Donald Miller, St. Nicolas’ first African American student, and Father Flynn. Sister Aloysius, worried for the welfare of the students, begins a personal crusade to expose Father Flynn and get him removed from the school. The intensity of the film is amplified when Sister Aloysius confronts Father Flynn, hoping to have him confess and resign.

The set and performances portray the issues and scenes from the 60s well. The film touches on issues such as religion and the integration of African Americans into society, important social and political issues of that era.

Meryl Streep’s performance astounds the audience " in every scene she brings intensity, and even a hint of comedy in some of her dialogue.

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