Two oscar winners, a Tony-winning play-what more could you ask for? Set in the Bronx, in the 1960’s, Doubt is a contemporary masterpiece starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep and uo-and-comer Amy Adams, fresh off her success with Disney’s Enchanted.
What do you do when you have doubt? Do you share it, or do you keep it bottled up inside? That is a dilemma Sister James (Adams) faces when she notices new student Donald Miller coming to her classroom, shaken and with alcohol on his breath after a meeting with Father Flynn (Hoffman), the Pastor of the catholic school she teaches. Concerned, she voices her suspicion to Sister Aloysius (Streep), the principal of the school. Untrusting of Flynn to begin with due to his casual manner, she makes it her mission to bring him down by any means necessary. As time goes on, Sister James begins to doubt her decision to voice her concerns, as there is no other evidence of his suspicious behavior. However, Sister Aloysius becomes more determined to ruin him. Yet, even she can’t escape that most terrible feeling of all- doubt.
Meryl Streep leads this rock-solid cast as hard-nosed Sister Aloysius. Aparrently there is nothing she can’t do, because as always she nails her role like a picture. As Father Flynn, Philip Seymour Hoffman brings a certain ambiguity to his role as a friendly but questionable Pastor, which lead the viewer to wonder- did he or didn’t he? Bringing up the rear as new, naïve Sister James is Amy Adams, America’s new sweetheart. Miss Adams radiates innocence and strength in a role that any other actress would probably play as a hippie in nun garb.
Adapting a stage play for the screen is a harrowing job for any writer, but John Patrick Shanley was evidently up to the task. The results were breath-taking; zooming shots were perfect to see the emotions on each actors’ face, but not so much that they look like they’re merely in deep thought. The editing was also impressive; the story kept right on moving, there was no plateau where the story stalled. It was enough to keep the audience on the edge of their seat, anxious to find out the truth about the accused Pastor and the boy looking for a male role model.
Overall, this was a compelling movie from start to finish. Doubt isn’t just a must see- it is a must-see-by-any-means. It makes you wonder throughout the entire film up to the pressing finale.