Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Movie Review: Doubt

I knew I would love Doubt before I even put the DVD in. In fact, I knew I would love it before I even knew what it was about. Why? Easy..two reasons...Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep.

Hoffman is one of my favorite actors ever. I think he spent much of his career being highly underrated and now...he's getting the praise that he quite deserves. To me, he...not Jim Carrey is the new version of Tom Hanks. Hoffman is a guy who was known for quirky and comedic roles, but no one walked around claiming he was a great actor. Then, he does Capote and everyone takes notice of the fella...and now he is being offered roles that no one ever would have considered him for before.

And as for Meryl Streep. Yes, it is true that I can never tell Meryl Streep and Glenn Close apart. If you ask me who was in a movie that one of them was in...I get this puzzled look on my face and then take a stabbing guess. More proof...I wrote this whole entry referencing Glenn Close...only to look up Doubt on imdb.com and see that it was in fact Meryl Streep in this role...and had to go back and change everything. 101 Dalmations. Glenn Close? Devil Wears Prada. Meryl Streep?? Fatal Attraction. Glenn...wait..was it Meryl?? Which one was in Stepford Wives?? Oh who knows... Anyways....love them both since in my brain they are the same person.

Anyways...back to Doubt. I usually love stage adaptions to film. This movie was no different. It told the story of a nun (Streep) investigating a possible relationship between a priest (Hoffman) and one of his altar boys. It was set in the past, but also very timely given all the goings on with the Catholic Church. The story is told in a way where you can see and identify with everyone involved....with the priest who is going out of his way to connect with an isolated boy and doesn't appreciate his authority being questioned by a woman, but who also might be hiding a dark and sinister secret. The nun who wants to protect all the children in her school, but also is infuriated by a system that values her less because of her gender. And a wided eyed naive nun (Amy Adams) who is conflicted between what did and did not happen.

What I found most interesting about this movie is that the story does not lay out in front of you whether or not the priest was in fact molesting the little boy. It leaves it to the mind of the viewer to decide. I have heard people argue both sides...and know they are right and know there are right without a "doubt." What it does is highlight the problem and how in many ways the system of the Catholic church keeps the problem in the dark and shadows. I read a little bit about the movie and play online...and heard that the director only told Philip Seymour Hoffman if he did it or not and intentionally kept the rest of the cast in the dark. He didn't want to tip his hat and therefore color their performances.

All in all...one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It sure was better than the other movie I watched this weekend, Bedtime Stories, but that goes without saying.