The last time something was as unwelcome as Doubt was to the Church, was when Yoko Ono stormed into the Beatles studio and demanded to know what John wanted for his tea. “Priests and Paedophilia” sounds like a Black Sabbath album, it also happens to be the minefield which I must now tread, as will anyone who watches this. The film plays on the viewers relative uncomfort by demanding an answer to the situation which seems to have unfolded. The catalyst for this is Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), who has it in for the priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and seems devoid of any human emotion. Father Flynn is great for the church, funny, understanding, thoughtful – and possibly a paedophile, which is not ideal.

I have read elsewhere that the film is a parable, this is something I do not fundamentally agree with. A parable has a clear vindication of a character at the end, something this works very hard to avoid. It does however, get its messages across loud and clear. The main one in my opinion, being the power of accusation. You don’t hire a man who’s just been cleared of multiple axe murders.

The film does keep up these moral posers for society, but in truth this film represents the individual. It suggest, again in my opinion, that anyone is vindicated if they believe in what they are doing strongly enough. A very controversial take on things if you apply it through history, but there you go.

Overall, not bad. Streep hasn’t got much happier since The Devil Wears Prada but puts in a strong performance. She also offers some decent moments of comedy through the first half of the film. Hoffman also does well in what must be quite a difficult performance and maintains the doubt surrounding him very well. Lets say 6/10, maybe a 7 for those of you who are in to your dramas – you could do a lot worse.

© BRWC 2010.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.



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