Doubt Reviews

Top Critic
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
February 5, 2009
Empathy is one of the dramatist's slyest weapons and Shanley uses it wisely.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
December 31, 2008
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.
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 24, 2008
John Patrick Shanley the writer should never again hire John Patrick Shanley the director.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 23, 2008
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 | Original Score: 4/5
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
December 19, 2008
Doubt asks hard questions, and we dutifully squirm in reply.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
December 19, 2008
Doubt is not exactly a tour de force, but the film succeeds on the wattage of its stars, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, as a nun and priest at odds over an unspeakable suspicion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Kristin Tillotson
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 19, 2008
While the Streep-Hoffman death match is the film's dramatic high point, its success lies in its defiant refusal to trot out even a slightly satisfying answer to the question: Did he or didn't he?
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 19, 2008
For all its high-caliber performances, its cutting dissection of the roles of men and women within the Catholic hierarchy, and its timely resonance in the wake of the church's sexual abuse scandals, there's something pat and tidy about Doubt.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 19, 2008
In the midst of a cast that should have wowed more, in the midst of a film that could have rattled more, Davis' sorrow upends all.
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John Moore
Denver Post
December 19, 2008
Doubt is a missed opportunity, all the way through to its final scene, which isn't nearly the statement it might have been.
Top Critic
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 19, 2008
Doubt, which on the page burns with stark simplicity, has gotten a little cluttered in the translation. But if you want to see remarkable screen acting, ignore the howling wind and watch these faces.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
December 15, 2008
Cinematically, Doubt is something of a dud. But if it remains a play, it's an ingeniously structured one, with smart, thought-provoking words spoken by fabulous actors.
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Ben Mankiewicz
At the Movies
December 15, 2008
Worth seeing.
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Ben Lyons
At the Movies
December 15, 2008
It is one of those plays that I think should have stay on the stage.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
December 15, 2008
John Patrick Shanley's film of his every-award-under-God-winning play Doubt is a heavy slab of dramaturgy, dark-toned and somber, yet intense as hell.
Top Critic
Christopher Orr
The New Republic
December 12, 2008
Doubt still creaks a bit of the stage, displaying the kind of tidy narrative geometry that's easier to pull off in the acknowledged artifice of live theater than in the feigned intimacy of cinema.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
December 12, 2008
Doubt offers up the crackling pleasures of performance and a narrative that snaps shut like a mousetrap. It's the movie equivalent of a rousing night at the theater.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
December 12, 2008
The movie is a mystery tour of human motives, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of being sure.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
December 12, 2008
A taut, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse drives the absorbing psychological thriller Doubt.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
December 12, 2008
Doubt strikes a deeper chill in our hearts than the creepiest thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
December 12, 2008
Every element of Doubt is in perfect balance.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
December 12, 2008
Doubt is a commendable rendering of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 12, 2008
Crammed with great performances and authentic period detail (you can almost smell the cafeteria food and the mimeograph ink), it's a fine adaptation of a provocative play. Shanley should feel proud of himself.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 12, 2008
Meryl Streep is frighteningly good as Sister Aloysius, the fire-breathing principal of a 1964 Bronx parochial school in John Patrick Shanley's powerful but stagy Doubt.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
December 12, 2008
Shanley paints a shaded picture where even a final, spontaneous act of contrition contains multitudes of meaning.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
December 12, 2008
As a consideration of faith and propriety, the movie never managed to boil my blood or break my heart.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Tom Maurstad
Dallas Morning News
December 12, 2008
This is a film bound to provoke differing interpretations and lively conversation at the cafe or in the car after it's over. A movie that's rewarding to think and talk about: That's the nicest Christmas present you can give a moviegoer.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 12, 2008
The air is thick with paranoia in Doubt, but nowhere as thick, juicy, sustained or sustaining as Meryl Streep's performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 11, 2008
Nothing in Doubt -- which Shanley directed, adapting his own Pulitzer Prize-winning stage play -- is certain, definitive or clear. Least of all the filmmaking.
Top Critic
Scott Tobias
AV Club
December 11, 2008
Doubt is a complex, thematically loaded piece of work, and though it isn't enhanced on film, it deserves the wider exposure.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 11, 2008
Inhabiting this world are two particularly well-matched antagonists.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
December 11, 2008
Most film mysteries are meant to be solved, but not this one. That's because the doubt in Doubt is presented as a virtue that, being its own reward, the audience is asked to heartily embrace.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Albert Williams
Chicago Reader
December 11, 2008
Streep and Hoffman are pitch-perfect, and Amy Adams is also superb as a young nun caught up in the conflict.
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
December 11, 2008
Shanley has adapted, slightly expanded and directed his play for the screen, and while it helps to enjoy the old-school dramaturgy and knowing theatrical craftsmanship of the piece, I'm probably not alone in my surprise at how well the results work on scr
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
December 11, 2008
Doubt cast a long moral shadow on Broadway, but seems blunter on screen. Shanley's fussy directorial notions are less nuanced than the religious and moral arguments he's given his characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
December 11, 2008
Given the incendiary subject and powerful cast, Doubt could have been explosive, but ends up merely solid.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Scott Von Doviak
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
December 11, 2008
Award-worthy performances aren't enough to keep Doubt from falling flat in the end.
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
December 11, 2008
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley's film adaptation of his acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning play, is a showcase for actors -- and it never lets you forget it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 11, 2008
Doubt has exact and merciless writing, powerful performances and timeless relevance. It causes us to start thinking with the first shot, and we never stop. Think how rare that is in a film.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 11, 2008
Doubt is being squired around town as prime Oscar bait. But in Shanley's hands, it only looks deep.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 11, 2008
It'll pin you to your seat.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 10, 2008
It is drama of the highest caliber, shaped by words and characters and directed with a simplicity that stands in stark contrast to the complexity of the people and issues on screen.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
December 10, 2008
The crisis of faith faced by everyone in Doubt raises the biggest doubt of all.
Top Critic
Anthony Lane
New Yorker
December 8, 2008
If only Doubt had been made in 1964, shot by Roger Corman over a long weekend, and retitled Spawn of the Devil Witch or Blood Wimple, all would have been forgiven.
Top Critic
December 8, 2008
Shanley, who has not directed a feature film since his maiden misadventure almost twenty years ago with Joe Versus the Volcano, has neither the skill nor the perspective to turn his Broadway powerhouse into a movie of similar punch.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
December 3, 2008
Doubt, fussily overdirected by its author, John Patrick Shanley, dulls the play's own sharp inquiries into the dangerous power of those who profess certainty with God on their side.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
David Ansen
Newsweek
December 1, 2008
Doubt stirs up a lot of stormy theatrical weather, but the stolid transfer from stage to screen does Shanley's play no favors.