This movie is incredible. I’ve seen it a couple times before, and was still completely blown away. I know this focus of this post series is to talk about Meryl Streep, but I’ve got more thoughts than that, that haven’t been covered here before.
That screenplay. THAT SCREENPLAY. It’s amazing. I haven’t seen the stage play (but gosh dang do I really want to), but it translated really well. Despite the minimal settings, it doesn’t feel claustrophobic, because the dialog is so rich that it fills the screen. Again, seen it a few times, and I still have no idea what happened. Not in the sense that I don’t know what’s going on, but in the sense that I don’t know what the truth is.
Lemme back up in case you’re unfamiliar with this story. It’s set in a Catholic school that’s run by the strictest nun that ever was (Streep’s Sister Aloysius). When a priest (a never been better Philip Seymour Hoffman) takes an interest in a young African American boy, Sister Aloysius begins to believe that there might be some scandalous behavior at play. But here’s the brilliance of how it’s written. Every scene, you think you know what the real story is. And then the next scene comes in and you completely change your mind. Then comes another scene. Ooooh that’s why it’s called doubt!
The acting is phenomenal. This was mine and much of the world’s first intro to Viola Davis as the boy’s mother, scoring her first Oscar nod with minimal screentime. But this is really about Hoffman and Streep going toe to toe. Two of the greatest actors of my lifetime digging into one of the richest scripts either has ever taken on. It’s such a masterclass in acting, and these performances are utterly compelling. Oh Amy Adams is in this too, and fantastic of course, but she’s kinda dwarfed by the other greats.
I should also say, this movie is the one that made Meryl my favorite actress. Well, this in combination with Mamma Mia. The fact that both those movies came out in the same year, on completely opposite ends of the spectrum genre wise, and she freaking killed both of them. That’s epic.
This movie should be mandatory viewing for any hardcore film buffs