F**K. That was the word I shouted after finishing 2008’s “Doubt”. From the opening shot, I knew there was something about this film that was going to make me love this movie. The film revolves around a Catholic Parish school. Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) is suspicious about Father Flynn (the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and the relationship that has blossomed between him and young Donald Miller (Joseph Foster), the only African-American student in the school. She then tells Sister James (Amy Adams) and the other sisters to keep an eye for anything out of the ordinary with Father Flynn. Sister James brings something to Sister Aloysius’ attention and from then on, a gut-wrenching emotionally exhausting story unfolds before the viewer’s eyes that continuously leaves them in doubt.
This movie made me feel so uneasy and continue to question every perception I made in my head. Throughout the film, you have an idea of what’s going on and it continuously throws you curveball after curveball, changing what you think’s going on, making your stomach turn because you find yourself making assumptions that may not be entirely true. The only way this can be done with the absolutely astonishing acting. This film blew me away with how well acted it was and how I never saw the actor or actress that was on screen, but the character. I can’t even think of a true standout because everyone is so fantastic. Viola Davis only has maybe 10 minutes on screen but she blew me away with just how emotionally torn her character was and the moral dilemma she faced as a mother. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was just magnificent as the accused priest and damnit why does he have to be so charismatic and likable. A true acting genius that we lost too soon. Meryl Streep plays her character so stern and almost terrifying that you witness her shell slowly crack until it is finally broken and you just feel so awe-struck of what is truly happening here. The thing that the film does so way is really mess with what you think is happening because I can tell you’re reading this right now and already have a assumption of what’s going on and the way it unfolds, well don’t. The movie is very smart in it takes what you thinks and does the opposite, continuously throwing in something that makes you yes, doubt yourself.
The writing and directing is also stunning here. John Patrick Shanley uses a lot of dutch angles and I’ll always use Thor as an example. That movie has dutch angles every other shot and it got so annoying it ultimately hinders your immersion. Here, however, every time there was a dutch angle, I was meant to feel stress and anxiousness and ultimately it succeeded. I wanna talk about how well shot this film is but ultimately all I have to say is Roger Deakins was the Director of Photography so you get world class shots and lighting. This film has a really slow build to it that I found really unique because it was really intense but not in the sense of like a Mad Max intensity but rather it was a subtle intensity that honestly I enjoyed more as the pit in my stomach slowly grew until I started to feel sick.
Doubt is a film I think everyone should see. I think it works as a really nice companion to 2016’s best picture, Spotlight. Both films deal with the catholic church and you see both sides of the argument. Doubt is a truly magnificent film that is well acted, well written, well directed and just everything about it works so seamlessly.
Kyle’s Next Film
The Lobster (2015/2016)
I actually only recently saw this a few months ago and it stuck with me. An A24 release which is a Kyle and mine favorite studio, this is one of the most original and unique films I’ve ever seen. I think that even if Kyle doesn’t like it, he will at least appreciate the originality but honestly he’s in for a treat.