I'm certain: Doubt is great

I recently saw the movie Doubt with Philip Seymour and Meryl Streep.  Both of them are awesome (as usual) and the movie really delivers.  I was hesitant to go see it as who wants to see a movie about nuns creating drama – sounds really boring.  But, it is fast paced and captivating.  Some thoughts:

  • Meryl Streep is amazing.  Her character is a holy terror can’t smile and brings old school discipline to St. Nicholas.  She rules the halls through disapproval and suspicion oozes from every glance.  She’s terrifying and awesome to watch.
  • The direction of the movie is really good.  Rather than a quick action-paced direction you see in Slumdog Millionaire the movie instead rests on the actors and lets them fill the screen and act.  You see this in the first scene of the movie when Philip Seymour is giving a sermon on doubt.  The camera just sits on his face and stays there.  No movement.  You just see and hear him, nothing else. I like that.
  • There’s a 10 minute scene with Meryl Streep and the actress Viola Davis who plays the mother of a student that is under suspicion of being molested by Flynn (Philip Seymour).  This scene makes the movie.  It adds some complexity and weight to what could just be a he-said-she-said film.
  • I LOVE how the film takes an approach of not preaching the answer.  The movie is less about doubt and more about certainty.  Everyone (including myself) can relate to having a feeling of doing something that feels right but not being certain, yet unable to alter direction.
  • The film does a great job at showing the conflict between old and new, between status and change, between infallibility and uncertainty, gender roles, conservative versus progressive religious values, about rigidity versus openness and suspicion versus proof, about how far it’s appropriate to go when you are sure you are right. Timeless dilemmas that the Church is still trying to figure out
  • Apparenty the writer/director John Patrick Shanley only told Philip Seymour (who played Father Flynn) whether or not Flynn was guilty. None of the other actors knew.
  • The movie was great.  It took the best parts of a play and added in sweet scenery.   I just can’t believe it comes from the guy who gave us Joe Versus the Volcano.  Seriously, JP Shanley did that too.
  • Eight of out ten for me
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