GREAT MOVIES GUYS MAY OTHERWISE NEVER SEE -- Doubt
I've been in Father Flynn's position before.
Not just me, but lots and lots and lots of hot young female teacher assistants, secretaries, paralegals, vice-presidents, etc.
It works like this...
If they don't work hard, but they still make the men in charge feel desired, they will get to keep their job forever.
If they don't work hard, AND ignore them...they will get fired.
Add to that, the males will WISH TO GOD that the real reason these ladies ignored them was because she prefers small boys. It happens every day...they'll try to demonstrate it from the time when the kids grabbed a young aide's arm and the aide didn't yell in their face. Long ago the aide had teachers who always yelled in her face, so she doesn't want to do that to the kid today. Meanwhile her colleagues want more then anything to believe that, following recess duty, this aide goes to the bathroom and strokes her nipples.
People go man, what's with all these young hot female teachers committing statutory? Ahh-hah. The guys in the school and many of the women have been hoping to catch her with something since the beginning. A few of those young ladies, under these circumstances, will have some actual serious criminal tendencies uncovered.
Since Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a priest, the option of hooking up with a few women which would rebuke this delusion, is not available.
You think you can do alot better for these kids then to house then in such an environment and teach them this way, because YOU were once one of these kids and YOU hated it.
Your natural impatience with sitting in Catholic school has led you as an adult to approach your job with these kids differently then others. You've become a full-blown harbinger to authority.
You want to provide an experience tailor-made around how you would go through it if you had your say.
For example, Father Flynn is a very welcoming priest. Under all the strictness, archaicness, darkness....there are adults who will extend their hand out in a friendly manner for you to high-five and shake. Maybe even some friendly ribbing. Anything outside of the orphanage leader in Oliver Twist.
You have this insane theory that you're helping, that somehow you're the only teacher in the history of time that ever thought to be the kids' friend.
The women are watching a guy like this.
Bored as they might get from time to time, they don't use it as a reason to "make suggestions on the jobsite". They do what they're told.
And when they see someone blatantly acting as though they disagree with them, they will make note of this and do something about it. Father Flynn thought he was demonstrating something that nobody had ever thought of. Little does he know that he's only allowed to be kind to these kids without any consequences...because of the fear and civility established there by the nuns.
Meryl Streep is a great actress.
Amy Adams is so fine.
And Freddy from Boogie Nights has actually turned out to be the most successful of all the actors and actresses on that set.
"Doubt" is the first great movie I've seen since Larry Clark's "Bully".
It is right up there with "Total Recall" which still has us wondering today if the whole thing was a dream or if it really happened.
It chronicles the struggle of Sister Aloysius of a strict Catholic school in 1964, as she tries to kick out a priest she thinks has been molesting the school's outcast. She has no proof, no standing, but she's "positive". Like Bill in Kill Bill, Philip Seymour Hoffman's Father Flynn gives sermons under the guise of being the nicest guy in the world, and all of them are aimed at Sister Aloysius and the hot, hot HOT Sister James. One of these sermons is about doubt, and how doubt can be even stronger then certainty...
It starts out easily. Sister James is so thrilled to be teaching history and might "inspire her students". Sister Aloysius, who runs the place with an iron fist, pinpoints Sister James immediately as an inexperienced softy.
To show us all that Sister Aloysius knows her stuff, we cut to a scene where Sister James is sitting on the bench in the kids' gym class. With the instruction of the dance teacher, they are singing and dancing to Edie Gorme's "Blame it on the Bossa Nova". Sister James, who has rarely heard a secular song before, likes it. And the song juxtaposed with the children happily dancing...(that smile gets even bigger as she looks down at their feet moving)...this is her idea of heaven on Earth. Just like Sister Aloysius thought.
So it's the basis of this -- this hot new nun who is both innocent AND pinned as such by Sister Aloysius, notices that Father Flynn is screwing around in a nearby locker. As he leaves, Sister James gets up slowly and very...very...slickly...heads over to the locker to see what's in it. She opens it. It the shirt belonging to that young outcast boy.
Donald Miller is not only the parish's first black student, he's homosexual and extremely passive. Sister James feels sick to her stomach that Father Flynn could be posing as a friend to this kid just to molest him. Earlier on as Sister Aloysius is showing her around, she told Sister James to keep an eye on Father Flynn, that she doesn't trust him, and to come to her if she sees anything out of the ordinary.
Sister James is about to vomit.
She goes to talk with Sister Aloysius very very very casually and awkwardly. The dialogue and facial mannerisms of Amy Adams are incredible. As we experience the film through her eyes, we watch as she brings up Donald Miller...and then says...
"Well he has a protector. Someone's taken an interest."
"Who?" asks Aloysius.
Then with that hot face almost on the verge of tears, Sister James turns and utters...".....Father Flynn..."
Now observe Meryl Streep's Aloysius as James says this. There are two components -- outrage, and authority. You gotta have both to pull this off, and Streep does it.
Sister James will never ever ever ever bring up the shirt in Donald Miller's locker to Sister Aloysius not because she's afraid of Aloysius, but because it represents why this movie is about Sister Aloysius and not Sister James. Sister Aloysius is not afraid of whatever nastiness should come out of this. Even from God. And that is a boundary that Sister James is just growing the balls to attempt to cross...at the same point in the film when Sister Aloysius has long said "EVEN IF I'M DAMNED TO HELL I will get to the bottom of this!"
The ladies don't want to go to the men about this because Sister Aloysius isn't sure who has an understanding with Father Flynn and will ignore her and who won't. Once she utters an accusation amongst those figureheads, some will take advantage of the fact that there's no proof.
I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say this --
Pay attention to the way that Sister Aloysius brings up the subject of Donald Miller at long last to Father Flynn in their private meeting in her office. At this point in the film, we've established the problem, and the elevation from it is the dilemma between Sister James and Sister Aloysius as to how to confront Father Flynn with these accusations.
So they sit in Aloysius's office -- her and Father Flynn with Sister James in the background getting coffee...
Aloysius slyly brings up the Christmas pageant, which begins a healthy exchange of dialogue between Aloysius and Flynn that even has Sister James fooled. Sister James hates this whole mess so much that she's willing to proceed without question into a paradigm where Aloysius has forgotten all about it.
Father Flynn offers his suggestions as to the tone and taste of the winter pageant, everyone's just enjoying their coffee and sharing favorite secular (non-religious) Christmas tunes...and Sister James just assumes that everything's fine....she can't see in her head a way that "winter pageant" could ever even abruptly turn into a talk about pulpit-rape. She can't envision the likeliness of a scenario where the conversation will go "Yeah winter." "Yeah Frosty the Snowman, awesome....so did you stick your cock in Donald Miller?" And so Sister James, with great relief and the pangs of prior nervousness congealing into half-controlled anxiety, freely drifts off into mental recreation...sharing with her playmates her encyclopedic knowledge of church hymns like "Oh Come Oh Come Oh Faithful" and "Little Town Of Bethlehem".
So it seems like everything is nice and calm. Small talk and tea. Nice and simple. Even Sister James could enjoy this. But then even the small talk goes sour, as Father Flynn turns the subject of the winter pageant into a greater discussion about liberalism within the church. And so Sister Aloysius, to the OUTRIGHT SURPRISE of Sister James...brings up precisely what the winter pageant has to do with this --
"It is important that when we have the children standing on stage singing.....that we don't place Donald Miller either in the front or the back...(CLAAANG)...you alright Sister James? Here let me get you a towel."
"You alright, Sister James?"