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Doubt (2008)


Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 207
Fresh: 162 | Rotten: 45

Critics Consensus: Doubt succeeds on the strength of its top-notch cast, who successfully guide the film through the occasional narrative lull.

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 48
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 14

Critics Consensus: Doubt succeeds on the strength of its top-notch cast, who successfully guide the film through the occasional narrative lull.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 161,181


Movie Info

When the principal (Meryl Streep) of a Bronx Catholic High School accuses a popular priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of pedophilia, a young nun caught in between the feuding pair becomes hopelessly swept up in the ensuing controversy. 1964, St. Nicholas, the Bronx: The winds of change are sweeping through this tight-knit religious community, and charismatic priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is doing his best to adapt by revisiting the school's notoriously strict disciplinary practices. … More

PG-13 (for thematic material)
Directed By:
Written By:
John Patrick Shanley
In Theaters:
Apr 7, 2009
Box Office:
Miramax - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Doubt

All Critics (207) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (162) | Rotten (45) | DVD (11)

Doubt works best when the performers are simply allowed to spar.

Full Review… | September 15, 2011
Time Out New York
Top Critic

Empathy is one of the dramatist's slyest weapons and Shanley uses it wisely.

Full Review… | February 5, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

John Patrick Shanley's Doubt left me less moved than querulously dissatisfied despite the impressive performances of Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis in all the key roles.

Full Review… | December 31, 2008
New York Observer
Top Critic

John Patrick Shanley the writer should never again hire John Patrick Shanley the director.

Full Review… | December 24, 2008
Detroit News
Top Critic

Thanks to a nearly perfect cast, this provocative glimpse into the Catholic priest child-molestation scandal manages to be deeply disturbing on several levels.

Full Review… | December 23, 2008
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Doubt asks hard questions, and we dutifully squirm in reply.

Full Review… | December 19, 2008
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

In a brisk 104 minutes, we meet four compelling people, establish a living breathing school environment, tackle legitimate moral dilemmas and wrestle with topics we'll spend longer than 104 minutes discussing.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Streep bursts onto the scene in a shower of meteors and takes control of director John Patrick Shanley's scenario.

Full Review… | August 16, 2011
East Bay Express

You don't mess with two Capital-A actors when they decide to play the game of Who Can Yell The Loudest.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

As a movie, very little actually happens. It's a lot of discussion about what might have happened or may occur in future, and then the emotional change that signals the curtain to drop and for the class to put down their pencils. The performances are st

Full Review… | December 15, 2009

An attention-getting bit of drama built on remarkable performances.

Full Review… | October 9, 2009

Shanley's continuous straining for that Great Unknown is undercut by tidy characters and cinematic deficiencies

Full Review… | August 26, 2009

It might be a bit of a slow starter, and it definitely takes its time allowing the story to unravel slowly. However, it's definitely worth a look, and a bit of discussion.

Full Review… | June 14, 2009
7M Pictures

Not a cinematic powerhouse, but a good conversation starter

Full Review… | May 14, 2009
Movie Habit

The early scenes of Doubt glide past so smoothly that it's easy to miss the seditious currents underneath.

Full Review… | April 7, 2009
Paste Magazine

The acting talent in evidence here is astounding and nobody, absolutely nobody puts her or his performance ahead of everyone else.

Full Review… | April 6, 2009
Apollo Guide

A cat-and-mouse game of power and posture, played out by two of the finest actors of the moment.

Full Review… | March 21, 2009

The cast['s]... collective efforts go a long way to mitigating Shanley's pedestrian grasp of film language.

Full Review… | March 2, 2009
Miss FlickChick

A well acted exploration of desperation, the destructiveness of conviction and the persuasiveness of doubt.

Full Review… | March 1, 2009
Cinema Sight

this cast is nothing short of amazing.

Full Review… | March 1, 2009

The most thought-provoking celluloid debate of 2008; one of the year's ten best

Full Review… | February 27, 2009
Movie Dearest

Brilliant performances from Streep and Hoffman, however, make it well worth seeing.

Full Review… | February 12, 2009
Sunday Times (UK)

Doubt is a provocative, pared-down work that in the theatre carried the subtitle "A Parable", and it has four outstanding performances.

Full Review… | February 12, 2009
Observer [UK]

The moral grey area of the title perhaps worked better in the stage play; exposed on screen it's not "doubt" being expressed, it's the sound of Streep's headmistressy voice demanding, "That Oscar - on my desk, NOW."

Full Review… | February 10, 2009

A clutch of fine performances helps to silence any reservations you might have about the screen version of Doubt.

Full Review… | February 10, 2009
Daily Express

Audience Reviews for Doubt



Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


Man, what a movie! It is the early 1960s, and Sister Aloysius is the classic stern disciplinarian type of nun. She starts waging a campaign against the progressive parish priest Father Flynn after she suspects he has done something illicit with a kid. Sister James is the naive and kind nun caught in the middle, and unsure of who to believe. Despite not much happening, and, due to being an adaptation of a play, the whole film takes place in and around a single location, this is one gripping, riveting, and powerful work. Written and directed by the author of the source material, Doubt is a thought-provoking and unnerving tale of uncertainty, and beliefs. The subject matter is controversial, but completely relevant and important. This is a film that needs to be seen, regardless of one's beliefs, because it is a challenging work that really forces the viewer to engage with the material. As a bonus, the cast, and their performances are absolutely brilliant. I really don't think I need to say much else about the acting. I mean, come on: Streep, Davis, Hoffman, and Adams all got Oscar nominations in a film that is essentially all dialogue. Because this film is is an adaptation of a play, it does have the feel of a play, and isn't too "cinematic", but there are some touches here and there. It all looks excellent though, thanks to the superb work of Roger Deakins. This film is challenging, and will divide audiences, but that's the whole point. The fact that this film is also entertaining as well as heavy is proof that it is worth seeing.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

As much as I like the actors in this, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Viola Davis are basically the only believable and engaging parts of this. Although occasionally interesting and even gripping, it is generally long, stagey and not very thematically or dramatically satisfying. A play which hasn't really been made cinematic, despite Roger Deakins excellent cinematography. Flawed and reeking of oscar bait.

Louis Rogers
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer


A different kind of New York tale, set in the early 60's at a little Irish/Italian neighborhood Catholic school where the first Negro has been admitted. The head nun comes to believe the parish priest is not on the up and up which sets the stage for conflict and controversy in the muted halls of the school. An A-class picture with A-class performances heavily concerned with the unspoken.

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

Doubt Quotes

Sister Aloysius Beauvier: His resignation is his confession.
– Submitted by ScubaSteve Walter M (6 months ago)
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: What happened in the rectory? Father Brendan Flynn: Happened? Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Hmm. Father Brendan Flynn: Nothing happened, I had a talk with the boy. Sister Aloysius Beauvier: What about? Father Brendan Flynn: Private matter. Sister Aloysius Beauvier: He's twelve years old, what could be private?
– Submitted by Nick P (22 months ago)
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: In ancient Sparta, important matters were decided by who shouted loudest. Fortunately, we are not in ancient Sparta.
– Submitted by Nandu J (2 years ago)
Father Brendan Flynn: Where's your compassion? Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Nowhere you can get at it.
– Submitted by Nandu J (2 years ago)
Sister Aloysius Beauvier: In ancient Sparta, important matters were decided by who shouted loudest. Fortunately, we are not in ancient Sparta.
– Submitted by Siddharth S (2 years ago)
Father Brendan Flynn: Where's your compassion? Sister Aloysius Beauvier: Nowhere you can get at it.
– Submitted by Jarred S (2 years ago)

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