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"Doubt" Mini-Review

Updated on September 2, 2009
Meryl Streep, Sister Aloysius
Meryl Streep, Sister Aloysius

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams

Father Flynn and Sister James
Father Flynn and Sister James

Viola Davis

Amy Adams

"Doubt" Mini-Review


"Doubt," is a grabber of a movie from start to finish. The first time I saw Meryl Streep was in Kramer v. Kramer, 30 years ago or so when the movie came out. That was a memorable performance as was "Sophie's Choice." "Doubt" offers an equally great performance by Streep, in my opinion, although one critic called her performance as a villanous nun/school principal who makes Lady Macbeth look like a lamb, "camp" and "over the top." I don't agree because I know people of whom the Streep character reminds me. She captured their essence wonderfully.

The Philip Seymour Hoffman character, Father Flynn, was accused by Sister Aloysius, the Streep character, of "inappropriate advances" toward a student being bullied by other students. Hoffman  matched Streep's performance blow for blow. Amy Adams, a fresh face, to me at least, played a young nun/teacher at the Catholic junior high school who was caught in the middle between Father Flynn and the tyrannical Sister Aloysius. Viola Davis played the mother of the boy who was the object of Father Flynn's attention and affection in a powerful scene when she was confronted by Streep matched her all the way.

The essence and strength of the movie was conveyed by it's title, "Doubt." Without revealing the ending, suffice it to say that the movie conveyed the moral ambiguities in the situation in which the five characters found themselves. All did a tremendous job.

Streep can convey more with her eyes and mouth than most actors with their voice and entire bodies. Hoffman approached Streep's virtuosity as did Viola Davis. Amy Adams captured perfectly the dilemma of a young nun trapped between the Streep and Hoffman characters locked in mortal combat. "Doubt" is a must see movie for Streep, Hoffman and Viola Davis fans and for anyone who followed the issue of pedophile priests with interest and concern. One could write a long essay or even a book about the meaning of the title and the intent of the play;s author, John Patrick Shanley, who wrote the prize-winning stage play and directed the movie.

I give it four thumbs up and I'll be surprised if it doesn't get several Oscar nominations.

Meryl Streep & Amy Adams

Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman

This picture must have been at a post filming cast party. It's definitely not an out-take from the movie!
This picture must have been at a post filming cast party. It's definitely not an out-take from the movie!


Kramer v. Kramer Trailer

Meryl Streep--the choice

"Sophie's Choice" Trailer


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    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      10 years ago from United States

      "Slumdog" is a great movie, and every American should see "Milk". I also greatly enjoyed "The Visitor." "Doubt" must be great, too! Thanks for writing this review.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Wooden? Interesting. I'll have to think about that. Maybe watch it again. It's the best movie I recall from 2008. Off the top of my head, "Milk," "The Visitor," "Frozen River," and "The Savages" were also outstanding. "Slumdog Millionaire" also deserves mention as memorable movies.

    • barranca profile image


      10 years ago

      I saw the movie two nights ago on my birthday. It was appropriately glum and tormented for a 60tieth. I liked the movie and the performances, but somehow it also seemed a little wooden. My daughter remarked that it felt like a movie shot as a play. The direction seemed overly influenced by the stage version. I agree with your comments about the acting. Streep is nonpareil.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      10 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for the comment. Judging from your Hubs, I think you'd enjoy this thought-provoking movie.

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 

      10 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Good review, Ralph. That sounds like one to watch out for. Thanks.


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