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Doubt- movie review

Updated on June 30, 2009

 Having gone to Catholic schools my entire life, I was curious about this movie.  I didn't know much about the content, only that it had a hard-ass nun that was riding a priest about his "modern" ways.  Meryl, Phillip and Amy (Adams) are all actors that I enjoy and they all have impressed me with the varied roles they have played in movies, so I decided to rent Doubt.

While many of my experiences at the Catholic school were positive, my siblings didn't have such luck.  Horror stories of the nuns, who hated children came home daily and tales of the punishments inflicted upon students had me fearing not God but the women of the convent as my time to attend school drew near.  The uniforms were uncomplimentary and the discipline and structure were ever present.  Church was attended each morning and if someone fell asleep or chose to talk instead of pray, a nun was nearby to let them know of their sins.

The movie begins in church and right away I sensed there was something different about Phillip's priest.  He didn't stand at the pulpit, rather in front of the congregation.  His message was meaningful and real; not a reiteration of the gospel.  While he spoke, Meryl's character slapped kids on the back of the head for talking or snoozing and children straightened up and pretended to be devout angels.  Did that bring back memories!  Watching my past life in film both horrified me and made me chuckle over the fact that so many of us experienced the strictness of the Catholic school yet survived it and can even joke about it today.

The film begins to get interesting when Seymour shows an interest in the first black youth in the church district.  He realizes that the boy has an abusive father and is in need of a strong, positive male figure.  Amy Adams, a young nun, is suspicious only after Streep's character assumes that the priest is being a bit too friendly with the boys in the courtyard, and she tells the head nun about how Seymour called the young boy to his office during class and they boy returned smelling of wine and seeming depressed.  After this point, the focus of the movie becomes Streep's never ending zealous quest to remove the priest from the parish for she feels he is guilty of sexually molesting the young boy. 

There is no proof, yet Streep is successful in shaking up the priest enough that he decides to leave the parish and is promoted to a larger one by the area bishop.  The young boy is devastated to have his adult comrade gone, the young nun states she doesn't believe the priest was guilty after all and Streep's character is now feeling doubt about her actions and her convictions.  The end.

I was very disappointed in the ending and the lack of meat toward the end of the movie.  I kept waiting for more information.  Did the fact the priest left the parish signify his admitting to something?  We will never know.  Each character was played wonderfully by the actors; however, the movie missed something intangible throughout its entire playing. 

Out of 5 stars, I would rate Doubt a 2.5

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