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 sweepingSee more details below

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).

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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.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/07/2009
UPC:
0786936756203
Original Release:
2008
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Miramax
Region Code:
A
Time:
1:43:00

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 O'Connell Mr. McGuinn
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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