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Star Ratings

Well good


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Doubt Print E-mail
Written by Laura Humphreys   
Friday, 06 February 2009 00:00
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Cast: Phillip Seymore Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams
Certificate: 15

Priests fiddle kiddies, apparently. And Nuns know this. Nuns are eternally suspicious of said Priests and are eager to catch their perverted little mits in the communion wafer basket. But Nun-judgement is clouded by their status as second class citizens in the patriarchal Catholic Church. So can you trust the Nuns? Can you trust the priests? Is it right to act to save a child on suspicion alone? Is it wrong to favour one child over many if they are in need of your help?


Did all that hearsay, conjecture and constant questioning confuse you? Do you feel cheated that no real explanation for anything was given? If you answer "yes" to either of those questions, then avoid this film. If you can't handle the uncertainty of that little intro, Doubt's chronic inconclusiveness about everything (except the fact that Nuns are scary) will upset you enough to commit violent acts in the carpark of your local cinematheque. Which is very unbecoming.

So, the title is irritatingly appropriate; are the actors? In short, yes. Amy Adams is fine - her character is a flakey naivete, which is always a bit irritating but not her fault. Nothing taxing for the young starlet, one imagines. The one thing that is proven beyond doubt is that Streep and Hoffman can act their little habits off. This is something we're already aware of, but Doubt  makes sure that it's hammered into our eyesockets with thuggish brutality so we never forget it. Both give strong performances, as usual, but this film is aiming for one thing and one thing only: Gongs. As soul-searchy as Doubt  is, you never believe that it's a story being told because it's a good story, but because it's an impressive story, a thought-provoking story, a story that is, frankly, a bit up its own holier-than-thou backside.

Having said all of that, it is still a reasonable watch, better than a lot of the fluff that has emerged in the scrum for awards this year. Mind you, even the fact that it doesn't suck is irritating...


Not really worth the Oscars it is so desperately grasping for, but it's so god damn annoying you have to watch it. For the bonnets and the rant factor if nothing else.