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Sister, Sister

8 Dec

Of this I am certain: Doubt is one tough, challenging, and not all that festive movie. The story of a young Jewish boy and his rabbi, Doubt explores what it means to be Bar Mitzvahed when you’re … alright, of course it’s not a Jewish movie. That much is clear from the movie’s poster. Doubt is actually the story of a priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is suspected by a nun, Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep), of having abused a young boy. Does Sister Beauvier have any proof? No. But she has her certainty, and that is all she needs to lead a full-on crusade to remove him from the parish. Caught in the middle is Sister James (Amy Adams), who initially brings the charge to Sister Beauvier’s attention, but has doubts that Father Flynn is actually guilty.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning play, Doubt is one of those awards-bait movies that deal with heavy themes and feature top-notch casts. Sure enough, while it may not be career-best-level, the acting across the board — by those mentioned and by Viola Davis, who plays the young boy’s mother — is good. Streep in particular plays one of the most intimidating figures I’ve ever seen. She’s terrifying just looking at her. Set in 1964, a year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Doubt explores not just themes of truth and religion, but also ones of change, and how the forces of tradition try to strike down any attempts to move society forward. Despite this seemingly fascinating subject matter, Doubt often fails to be fully engaging. It can also be slow at times. That said, it can also be intimate and not stuck in its theatricality, always welcome with an adaptation of a stage play.

Overall, I can’t say I loved this movie. Perhaps a more intellectual viewer will rate it higher. I’m giving Doubt a B.

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