Doubt

Doubt

4.1 25
Director: John Patrick Shanley

Cast: John Patrick Shanley, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams

     
 

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When the principal (Meryl Streep) of a Bronx Catholic High School accuses a popular priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of pedophilia, a young nun caught in between the feuding pair becomes hopelessly swept up in the ensuing controversy. 1964, St. Nicholas, the Bronx: The winds of change are sweeping

Overview

When the principal (Meryl Streep) of a Bronx Catholic High School accuses a popular priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of pedophilia, a young nun caught in between the feuding pair becomes hopelessly swept up in the ensuing controversy. 1964, St. Nicholas, the Bronx: The winds of change are sweeping through this tight-knit religious community, and charismatic priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is doing his best to adapt by revisiting the school's notoriously strict disciplinary practices. Unfortunately Father Flynn's progressive ideas stand in stark contrast to the longstanding beliefs of Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep), the iron-willed principal, who believes that an oppressive environment of punishment and fear is the only way to keep the student body in line. Suddenly into this tempestuous environment appears young Donald Miller, St. Nicholas' first black student. When hopeful innocent Sister James (Amy Adams) reluctantly reveals to Sister Beauvier that Father Flynn and Donald have been spending an unusual amount of time together in the church rectory, the unrelentingly righteous headmistress begins a merciless crusade to reveal the beloved clergyman as a lecherous child molester and have him permanently expunged from the school. Yet despite her moral certainty that Father Flynn has committed such an unspeakable transgression, Sister Beauvier has not a shred of actual evidence to back up her audacious claim. Now, as Sister Beauvier and Father Flynn enter into an epic battle of wills, the shock waves set into motion by their explosive confrontation threaten to destroy one man's reputation and tear apart the entire surrounding community. John Patrick Shanley adapted his own play for the screen under the guidance of producer Scott Rudin (The Queen, Notes on a Scandal).

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Director John Patrick Shanley loves to deal with weighty philosophical themes, but thankfully, he knows how to do so through three-dimensional characters that make his grand ideas a part of everyday life. Doubt, his adaptation of his own award-winning play, offers a crystalline example of his remarkable gifts. The film stars Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, a no-nonsense Catholic middle school principal who watches over her students with steely eyes and a firm hand. She carries a simmering dislike for the popular priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) because his easy rapport with the students clashes with her old-school style. After Flynn delivers a sermon that suggests doubt can bring people together as much as faith, Sister Aloysius wonders why a man of the cloth would ever seek refuge in questioning God. Believing Father Flynn may be hiding something, Sister Aloysius asks history teacher Sister James (Amy Adams) to inform her if Flynn exhibits any strange behavior. Not long after, Sister James discovers that one of her students, Donald Miller, smells of alcohol after paying a private visit to Flynn in the rectory. Armed with this information, Aloysius campaigns to drum Flynn out of the parish. Although she could rest on her laurels as a living legend, Meryl Streep is always eager to take up a new challenge, and Doubt gives her the meatiest role she's had in a very long time. She inhabits Sister Aloysius with a self-assurance and authority that dominate the screen, except when matched by Hoffman's formidable physicality. He imbues Father Flynn with an all-encompassing charm and ease that makes it plain why his students adore him. Their battle with each other takes on a mythic Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object quality. Like Sister Aloysius, we never see what transpires in the rectory between the boy and the priest, and because of this it's impossible to tell at any given moment who is right and who is wrong -- your sympathies vacillate between the two characters even after the story ends. However, those two are far from the only fascinating characters in the movie. The conflicted Sister James likes that Father Flynn expresses such kindness toward the students in general -- and this troubled boy in particular -- but Sister Aloysius is her mentor. Her struggle is one of the most obvious embodiments of the film's title. And Donald's mother, played to perfection by Viola Davis, leaves an indelible impression with very little screen time because her character radically changes the audience's perceptions of what's at stake when she reveals shocking information about the child's home life. But, for all the powerhouse acting, this is John Patrick Shanley's show, and he uses this movie to ask profound questions about belief and ethics. His final scene provides a genuine dramatic wallop that resolves the movie's central conflict, without answering these weighty existential questions. Because of this, Doubt satisfies the heart, and engages the mind.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/15/2011
UPC:
0031398137375
Original Release:
2008
Source:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
7,685

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Meryl Streep Sister Aloysius Beauvier
Philip Seymour Hoffman Father Brendan Flynn
Amy Adams Sister James
Viola Davis Mrs. Miller
Alice Drummond Sister Veronica
Audrie Neenan Sister Raymond
Joseph Foster Donald Miller
Susan Blommaert Mrs. Carson
Carrie Preston Christine Hurley
John Costelloe Warren Hurley
Lloyd Clay Brown Jimmy Hurley
Mike Roukis William London
Haklar Dezso zither player
Frank Shanley Kevin
Robert Ridgell organist
Frank Dolce Ralph
Paulie Litt Tommy Conroy
Matthew Marvin Raymond
Bridget Clark Noreen Horan
Molly Chiffer Sarah
Lydia Jordan Alice
Suzanne Hevner Mrs. Kean
Helen Stenborg Sister Teresa
Tom Toner Monsignor Benedict
Michael Puzzo Father Sherman
Margery Beddow Mrs. Shields
Jack A. O'Connell Mr. McGuinn
Marylouise Burke Mrs. Deakins
Valda Setterfield Parishioner

Technical Credits
John Patrick Shanley Director,Screenwriter
Ellen Chenoweth Casting
Celia Costas Executive Producer
Roger Deakins Cinematographer
David Gropman Production Designer
Peter Rogness Art Director
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer
Mark Roybal Producer
Scott Rudin Producer
John Rusk Asst. Director
Howard Shore Score Composer,Musical Arrangement
Nora Skinner Associate Producer
Dylan Tichenor Editor

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Doubt 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
mishawaka-bookie More than 1 year ago
Don't doubt "Doubt's" intelligence & smarts. The movie makes you sit up & take notice from the opening scene, and never lets go of your conscience. And who would have thought Meryl Streep could top Meryl Streep, but indeed she does from the moment she incaptures the audience.The cast as a whole sweeps you a way with their bravo performances. Lucky us.
Katla More than 1 year ago
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams ad Viola Davis are all terrific in Doubt. Not only do they deliver performances that makes you believe in them, in their characters - but they all come through the screen with such grace and power that you forget that they are actors. But... it is Meryl Streep that is the heart and soul of this movie. THE Meryl Streep. The movie-goddess. The First Lady of Acting. Once again Meryl Streep proves why she is just - better! Better than anyone else. Forget about her record number of Oscar-nominations. Just watch this movie. Well - just watch almost any of her movies and if you did not know it already, it will show you why movie goers/lovers are lucky to live during her lifetime. And she is still only 60 years old.. Hopefully many more movies will benefit from her magic.
nono3319 More than 1 year ago
Words do not begin to describe the film. Every element in this film is pulled off with flying colors, making it one of the best films of our time! I HIGHLy recommend this movie to everyone who wants to be entertained and intrigued.
garydisarmadasco More than 1 year ago
The plot is never actually stated so that leaves it up to viewer to decide what the dilemma is. The characters, the 2 protagonists, the priest played by Hoffman and the chief nun, Streep, and principal, play of each other like a rubber ball in a small room, going back and forth endlessly bouncing off each other. The young nun, Amy Adams, is in such a quandry as to the right and moral thing to do, wanting desperately that people are truly good, something we all would like to believe in, and did. When things are seemingly solved, Streep goes on a tear to prove that what she believes is true, and although she does not do that, she manipulated enough to break the priest, take the innocence away from Adams and affect a few of the student's lives, as well. Dialogue is intricate and must be listened to intently, which takes away from the performances, which is why I advise watching it more than once. All the performances are top notch but if you are looking for action, thrilling scenes and amazing sets, this is not for you. It is as intimate a film as can be and must be conctantly be paid attention to. I would not recommend it to somoene who is not in the mood to think, and listen. I don't think someone who loved, 'the Terminator' would find this film satisfying, though someone who saw and appreciated 'Ordinary People', also a film which depends on every word of dialogue, you will appreciate this. Do not be put off by the religious background as the story is not about religion, but about choices, gossip, assuming, relationships, faith. It is a remarkable film. I would reccomend it highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I show this film every semester to a Writing and Literature class I teach. The students generally enjoy the film, and enjoy debating about it. Except for a bit of overacting on Meryl Streep's part, the cast is excellent.
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FelicitySorentia More than 1 year ago
When I think of a romantic writers, one writer always makes the top 10 list. That would be John Patrick Shanley. Even in his "serious" efforts, there is always an underlying romantic vein. That is just one reason why it is so particularly nice to see an effort like DOUBT. DOUBT, written and directed by Shanley, is very good movie, because the writer not only keeps getting better with each subsequent work, but as a director as well. Shanley directs his movie, with a sure hand. He knows and likes his subjects, especially his lead character. And Meryl Steep is wonderful as the lead character in this movie about a Catholic school sister (early 60s), who thinks that a priest has made sexual overtures to an altar boy. Streep digests her characters, makes them her own and then, rather than go off with some wild idea about who the character should be, always seems to respect the writer and stays true to the writer's vision of who that character is. Amy Adams, Viola Davis and Philip Seymour Hoffman also lend their fine talents to DOUBT. I found this to be an excellent movie.
ThomasDC More than 1 year ago
For anyone who attended Catholic school in the the early '60s, this movie will hit even a more prolific note. This is an excellent movie, with excellent script, acting and direction. Meryl Streep hits the Mother Superior role dead on, from the NY accent, to those looks only nuns can give, she is every Catholic school boys nightmare. Viola Davis is pivitol in her 10 minutes on screen, and the interplay between she and Streep is what makes movie moments. The story holds you until the very end, in which the word "doubt" encounters a whole new meaning. This movie should have won Best Picture, it contains all the elements and they are all in sync. A GREAT MASTERPIECE.
Grady1GH More than 1 year ago
DOUBT succeeds on every level - from the fine transference of Patrick Shanley's play to the screen (Shanley wrote the play, the screenplay, and directs) to the atmospheric cinematography excursion through the Bronx of the mid 1960s to the detailed delineation of the characters by Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Amy Adams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and even young Joseph Foster, to the careful editing. It would be difficult to imagine a finer cast, here cast in roles counter to their usual types, bringing such power to the poetry of Shanley's lines. The story is well known by now (the dismissal of a progressive priest by a crotchety old Catholic school principal over a false rumor and all the 'doubt ' that brings into play in every character), but multiple viewings of this film intensify the humanity of each of the characters and demonstrate just how fine a writer Shanley is. The subject matter is difficult at first but the manner in which each of these superb actors (under the guidance of Shanley's direction) explore the effects of spite and loathing and forgiveness shares some of the finest ensemble acting in years. Recommended. Grady Harp
Crabella More than 1 year ago
I was extremely disappointed in this film. While the performances and emotions invoked were outstanding- I am upset at the story. Many screenplays don't match that of the original story, play, book, etc. and this should not have been an exception. It should have given us some type of resolution and satisfaction. Sister Aloysius never had proof of the things she accused Father Flynn of and was one to talk about "being a cheat" and her actions were proof of only one thing...the hypocrisy that exists in the church today. She basically sentenced Donald Miller to death. In allowing Sister Aloysius to get away with what she did and ending the movie like this only reminds the viewer of how messed up the world is today; I watch movies in an effort to escape that. What a waste of two hours.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are many stories within the primary story, and the complexity of layers is not brazenly noticeable. Each person who sees this movie will form his or her own interpretation of the characters and the meaning of Meryl Streep's "doubt" at the end. This is a movie a person can watch several times and still get something new with each viewing. Excellent!
superLinds09 More than 1 year ago
Solid, well written movie...Thrilling and realistic. But better off renting than buying.
NY_Reader1 More than 1 year ago
All of the primary actors were amazing, but I'll tell you something - Viola Davis took a small part and kicked Streeps's butt. One expects Ms.Streep to be good (well, except for Mama Mia, which made me want to poke a fork in my eyes) but Ms. Davis was incredible. A very compelling story; one which made me think about it long after the movie ended. I'd love to see the stage version. I bet it's amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Engrossing and entertaining.
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