Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Doubt

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Brendan Flynn
Amy Adams as Sister James
Viola Davis as Mrs. Miller
Alice Drummond as Sister Veronica
Audrie J. Neenan as Sister Raymond
Susan Blommaert as Mrs. Carson
Carrie Preston as Christine Hurley
John Costelloe as Warren Hurley
Lloyd Clay Brown as Jimmy Hurley
Joseph Foster as Donald Muller
Bridget Megan Clark as Noreen Horan
Michael Roukis as William London
Haklar Dezso as Zither Player
Frank Shanley as Kevin

Directed by John Patrick Shanley

Special Features:
Doubt: From Stage to Screen
Scoring Doubt
The Cast of Doubt
The Sisters of Charity
Feature Commentary with Writer/Director John Patrick Shanley

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Languages
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 103 Minutes

The Movie:
The following is the official description of the film:

"From Miramax Films comes one of the most honored and acclaimed motion pictures of the year, 'Doubt.' Based on the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play, 'Doubt' is a mesmerizing, suspense-filled drama with four riveting performances from Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis that will have you pinned to the edge of your seat.

Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Streep), the rigid and fear-inspiring principal of the Saint Nicholas Church School, suffers an extreme dislike for the progressive and popular parish priest Father Flynn (Hoffman). Looking for wrongdoing in every corner, Sister Aloysius believes she's uncovered the ultimate sin when she hears Father Flynn has taken a special interest in a troubled boy. But without proof, the only thing certain is doubt."

"Doubt" is rated PG-13 for thematic material.

Mini-Review:
I have to admit that I was dreading watching "Doubt." You know from the synopsis that it involves a priest and charges of child molestation, so there's no way it's going to be cheery. I mean, either the priest is guilty and we're dealing with a molested child or he's innocent and we're dealing with a wrongfully accused man. Neither situation pans out to a fun evening at the movies.

What makes "Doubt" interesting is that as soon as Philip Seymour Hoffman appears on screen as Father Brendan Flynn, you instantly assume, "This guy is up to no good." We're so used to seeing tales of molestation from priests that we don't give him the benefit of doubt. In fact, when Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier has similar thoughts about Flynn, you secretly root for her to go after him. But as the film progresses, you start seeing Flynn acting in the benefit of the boys and you don't see any concrete evidence against him. At the same time, Beauvier's relentless pursuit of justice takes a fanatical tone and you start questioning her motivations. It gets to the point where there's so much doubt on every front that you have no idea who to root for until the final moments... and even then it's inconclusive. So I liked how "Doubt" took the expectations of the audience and totally turned them on their heads. It's just too bad the subject matter is so unpleasant.

This film is successful thanks to the strong performances of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Brendan Flynn, Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, and Amy Adams as Sister James. Hoffman finds the right balance between creepiness and sincerity to make the doubt stick. Streep makes Beauvier equally terrifying, fanatical, and righteous to the point you're not sure if you should be rooting for her despite the fact that she's working in the best interest of the students. Then there's Adams whose Sister James starts out as innocent and trusting and then, through the course of the allegations, slowly turns into a cynic like Beauvier. Viola Davis delivers an emotional performance as Mrs. Miller, but she's really barely in the film. Still, the little time she has on screen with Streep is quite memorable.

"Doubt" is a well-acted film that makes you think, but you have to be in the right mood for it. Prepare yourself for a bit of darkness and psychological drama.

You'll find a few bonus features on this DVD. There's one on the score by Howard Shore, one on that cast, and one on the adaptation from stage to screen. You'll also find the usual commentary, but none of the actors take part in it.

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