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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Watched "Doubt" The Other Night

It was really, really good. This is going to be SPOILER-HEAVY, so if you haven't seen the movie, look away like this is the Ark of the Covenant.

SPOILERS BELOW

I loved how the movie plays with your expectations. At first, you are totally on Father Flynn's side, played by one of my personal favorite actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Flynn is nice and fun-loving, gives good sermons, and stands in stark contrast to Meryl Streep's Sister Aloysius. I love how Doubt gets you on the side of the priest, then pulls the rug out from underneath you at the end.

There's a lot of subtext in the movie about the larger issues with the Catholic Church and its well-publicized issues with sexual misconduct among the clergy. When Sister Aloysius reveals her doubts at the end, she's speaking for a lot of people who love the church but aren't sure if it's the right way to go after seeing what they've seen.

However, I do wish that director John Patrick Shanley would have not played with the camera so much. There are some scenes where he tilts the camera needlessly, or frames something in a strange way just because he can. When you have Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep giving knockout performances, you don't need to draw attention away from them. That being said, I'm an admirer of Shanley, and he does fine work here as usual.

SPOILERS END

If you haven't seen Doubt, go see it. It's a quick movie, it's smart, it has great acting, and it'll make you think.