Doubt - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Doubt Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 13, 2008
" I Have Doubts, Such Strong Doubts!"

What a powerful ending, i loved the way it ended, i love that the Nun was questioning everything she believed in. Just fantastic!
A fantastic cast, which then led to fantastic ending which deserved each of them a Golden Globe.
Its a powerful movie about a catholic priest and a black boy that get a bit to 'close', throughout the movie you never hear the words 'Molestered' or 'pedeophile' but from the way the story is being told and from Meryl Streeps character your lead to believe that, that is whats going, however this may not be the case hence the title 'Doubt', you aren't given a proper answer to the accusations which in all honestly could be false.
Throughout the movie your given clues which i guess your ment to pick up on and deduce and come to your own decision, a couple of clues your given is that the priest played by seymore-hoffman has long nails which is very much emphasized throughout the movie which could suggest that the priest is gay which of course in his job and at that era that would be unexceptable!
The second clue is that when Streep is speaking to the young black boys mother she's saying that the boy gets beaten by his father for it, and would be beaten and picked on in school usually. It doesnt say specifics into what she is talking about but again you are left thinking that shes knows about the supposedly 'abuse'; this movie is fantastic and is written very well and is mesmerizing!
I'll leave it to your own mind as to what you think! Enjoy! :)
Super Reviewer
½ January 16, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
½ December 10, 2008
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.
Market Man
Super Reviewer
½ August 12, 2012
The acting is great but the story is slow and doesn't seem to go anywhere. It's a difficult film to get into, and while some scenes are interesting, as a whole it is unsatisfying. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep give great performances, as usual.
Super Reviewer
½ April 2, 2012
John Patrick Shanley is probably better known for the 1987 film "Moonstruck" which garnered Cher a best actress Oscar and also one for himself in the screenplay department. He went on to direct "Joe Versus The Volcano" in 1990, to mixed results, but here he's back to his native New York, doing what he does best and taking only his second stab at directing.
In a Bronx Catholic school in the 1960's, stern and moralistic school principal Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep) suspects that gregarious priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has shown an unnatural and indecent interest in one of the school's alter boys. She is so certain of her suspicions but lacks the evidence to prove it, leading to a battle-of-wits between them.
There are, easily, three main reasons why I enjoyed this film so much and they are: the three actors involved. Amy Adams is one of the strongest young actresses around at present and Streep and Hoffman are two of my all-time favourites. I never tire of watching them and to see them go head-to-head, chewing up the screen with powerful roles, is dramatic gold as far as I'm concerned. Such choice material though, ultimately rests with Shanley. His writing, not only has the characters in doubt but the omission of integral plot developments cleverly leaves the audience with doubts also. Is Father Flynn guilty of such indecency? Or, is Sister Aloysius bitter and slanderous toward the outgoing priest in order to retain her hierarchy? It's an intriguing confrontation, masterfully played out buy a relentless Streep and victimised Hoffman. Adams, meanwhile, is caught between the two in a wonderful show of innocence and hope. All three were Oscar nominated for their performances, and deservedly so. Viola Davis, as the alter boys struggling mother, also deserves mention with some strong displays of emotion. It's a film of performances and everyone is up to the task. Roger Deakins is another deserving of praise, with his exquisite cinematography. As always, his use of the camera captures the mood beautifully with some simple but lush and quaint images.
Ambiguous and tantalising. Some may find the ambiguity frustrating but I found that it kept entirely in-touch with the theme of the film. That being, quite simply... doubt.
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2012
Power House Acting!! Its really great when the acting ensemble blows you away! Fantastic!
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2012
There are few films I have seen more times then Doubt, and yet I still find myself rewatching this film with the same rapid attention, eager, and love a I did the first time. While revisiting these characters, I started to wonder why such a small film based on a small play was so riveting, so exciting, and so captivating that every time see that it is on I end up watching it? The reason is because the film's themes of trust and doubt effects us all.
Take, for instance, the opening monologue by Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman). In the five minutes that speech is given, the tone is set for the film as we are presented with blurred facts about this popular priest and if he is a pedophile. Then you have the ball busting, completely in control performance of Meryl Streep as she tries her hardest to prove Flynn guilty. Finally you have Amy Adams playing the character that we all are: confused, innocent of what is going on, and caught in an emotional, moral, and spritual battle over who is right and wrong.
Being written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, this is the only film he has made out of his four that still strikes a cord with audiences. He makes this film original, simple yet complex, and does not make the audience feel insulted. He on purpose does not give us all of the facts but left to us to figure out the truth. The best example of this is at the end when we see Streep and Hoffman duke it out in an office. Hearing them yell at each other, both of them being pushed to their limits, it is at this point that Shanley starts having us question Streep completely. Throughout the film, we only hear and see her perspective on everything. While this fight is playing out, we start to believe more and more that she is right. Then at the end, Shanley has Hoffman do something that makes us rethink everything.
But one performance that really stunned me, more so than any of the actors I have mentioned, is the short performance of Viola Davis. She plays this young boy's mother who embodies most inner city mothers in the sense that she forsakes all rationality for her child as long as her child has an education and a guardian. What stunned me was how much she did not care if his innocents was on the line, as long as this priest was their.
Then you have how relevant this film is to the world along with the psychological fear of outside influences of religion. This film is relevant to our world today due to the recent controversies with Vatican over child molestation, and this film not only treats the subject matter with stone cold seriousness, but also with respect and honor, knowing that if done wrong, this film could destroy everything that it represents. With psychological fear, you have to examine the character of Sister Aloysius (Streep). She is the type of person that wants everything to be like the traditional days of religion and America, where it was care free, no one was improper, and everything was old fashion. Aloysius is afraid of everything including Ball Point Pens being used in classrooms. This is worth mentioning because this is heavily counterattacked by Sister James (Adams) and Father Flynn. These two, when not fighting over allegations with molestation, are trying to tell Aloysius that it is okay to all things to change (as howled by Father Flynn to Aloysius: You are keeping this parish in the dark ages!).
To say that this film is a masterpiece would be an understatement. This is one of the most simple, yet complex films about the catholic religion I have seen that is not science fiction. This film touches so many different ideas and topics that it is difficult to explain. With the performances from the cast and the direction/ writing from John Patrick Shenley, Doubt is a no holds bar film that hits for the gut and keeps you hooked until the final shot where you are left with your own idea of what really happened. This is a marvelous film.
Super Reviewer
December 19, 2011
Doubt was a very good film, but also I didn't think it was the greatest either. Despite my mixed feeling on Doubt, the cast for this film is excellent. I thought that the film was good, entertaining and very well directed. However I also thought that something was missing to really make it a memorable film. I enjoyed the film, but it wasn't the film that everyone says it was. The film certainly had good elements to make a good story, but lacked something to really make it memorable. I've seen much better films than Doubt. But for what it is, this is still a pretty good drama film and the cast here make it worthwhile. Doubt is a good film that entertaining, but is far from perfect. Director John Patrick Shanley does a pretty good job at helming this film, and he directs a very good cast here. However, in the end, I thought Doubt, though good was slightly disappointing. The film is hard to watch at times. The key performance here is of course Philip Seymour Hoffman who delivers the best performance of the film. The rest of the cast are great too. But the film does lack in some areas. Overall this is a good film to watch with good performances, and good directing. I enjoyed the film for what it was, but in the end, it was hard to watch at times, and for me, is not a film I would rewatch again and again.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2011
Wow, what an intense film, I found this to be a genius movie with a great plot, acting, and setting. Not only was this an intriguing and cool plot, it questions the nortions of a Catholic Church, and the troubles of people who have faith, and the ones who have to question theres. The acting is the best part about the movie, because I didn't fiind one bad performance in this film. It was such abeautiful film that I didn't feel right giving it anything lower than 5 stars, which it deserves.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2009
It's painfully obvious that Doubt is based on a stage play, and in the worst ways: wordplay, for example, scenes that are occasionally agonizingly long, and a "famous last words"-type ending, where stern music and panning away will never quite compete with a falling curtain.

What the film has going for it, though, is fantastic acting: of five Oscar nominations, four were for acting. Two long scenes near the end, involving (1) Meryl Streep and Viola Davis, and (2) Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, were breathtaking chess games, incredibly well played, perhaps most meaningfully by Davis.

Otherwise, the film is a topical drama-by-numbers. That doesn't mean it's not worth seeing: it occasionally wows with bristling dialogue, but otherwise it drags you through a laborious and somewhat predictable story. A good movie, but not a great one, largely because the adaptation wasn't fully tailored to the big screen.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2008
A simple story with great performances, but with this premise and subject matter I expected greater tension and emotional weight. Unfortunately I didn't really care for any character all that much and the lack of payoff Left me unsatisfied and cold. See it for the performances.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2008
I enjoyed this much more then I thought I would.

It's a simple film (on the surface), but it's very deep if you take the time to really think about it.

If you enjoy good writing and acting, you will enjoy this film but don't expect a tidy will leave you with "doubts".
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2010
Great performances by Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. Throughout the film, I found myself anxious for the next scene where the 3 would be together; they worked wonderfully together. Also, mention must go to Viola Davis. She is only in a ten minute scene but she delivers a strong performance that got her an Oscar nomination. For me though, it was Amy Adams that steals the show. From her brilliant facial expressions, to her innocent yet powerful dialoque, to her simple hand movements, she gives a great performance. She is one of the most versatile actesses of our time, and my favorite.
Definitely one of the best films of 2008! Nominated for 5 Academy Awards, 4 of which came from the acting, you must check this film out!
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2010
That woman Streep and Viola Davis gave me goosebumps. Hoffman was also perfect for his part.

It's originally based on a play, which I'm definitely going to see if it's ever adapted in Holland.

I won't say anything about the movie, because that would ruin the effect.
It's very captivating, and the media coverage on the subject in the last couple of months really gives this movie an extra intensity.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2010
Very true to the play (or at least the version that we saw). It was very enjoyable.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2008
Well, it was a great and powerful drama from John Patrick Shanley... He wrote a really great story from a simple word : Doubt... Joining an Academy Award class actors like Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman with a young talent from Amy Adams and a great short performance from the newcomers Viola Davis, this movie has it all... A powerful story, a great performance from the cast, and a great ending... Even that, I was a little boring in the middle of this movie because the power of this movie really was in the conversation between the actors... But overall, I was
Super Reviewer
July 23, 2010
When a movie ends by repeating the title over and over again you know I'm going to stand up and clap.
Super Reviewer
½ December 15, 2008
Drama set in 1960s in a school run by nuns. The principal suspects the priest of abusing one of the altar boys. Great cast.
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