There is no “Doubt”


Over the weekend, my wife and I discovered one of the best movies I’ve ever seen: Doubt.

Starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, it’s based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.  It became clear to me how the play won the award within the first ten minutes.

Set in 1964 in the Bronx, Doubt is the story of an aging Catholic nun, the principal of the tiny grade school attached to a small parish.  The priest, Father Flynn, appears to be injecting himself into an inappropriate relationship with a young African-American boy.  A young and naive teacher at the school, also a nun, sees something suspicious and brings it to the attention of the principal, inciting a series of events which cast doubt on both Father Flynn’s integrity and the unfailing conviction of the school’s principal.  In the midst of the power struggle, many secrets are revealed and the loyalties of the young nun are strained.

Doubt was nominated for five academy awards, and it’s obvious why the industry recognized it as among the finest released in 2008.  It’s amazing in its power, its delivery and story, the dialog is taut and tense.  The acting is incredible, the story gripping, and in the end, the climax is satisfying.

I’ve been hoping for a movie I’d like as well as The Good Shepherd for a long time now, and without hesitation I can say Doubt moves into one of the top slots for movies in my estimation.  I would not exaggerate by saying it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.  Ever.

I’m not easily impressed with films, and my tastes tend to run a little off-center from most everyone else’s I know.  But I was completely engrossed in this film from the beginning, and enjoyed every moment until the credits rolled.  It was truly amazing.  The truth, in the end and throughout the course of the film, is never displayed.  We have only the word of the priest on one side and the conviction of the nun on the other.  And the audience can decide for themselves; at least, that’s how I felt.  There were events which could be interpreted in a couple of ways, and the final confrontation can be seen from both sides, I suppose.  But it was nothing short of brilliant in its display of a power struggle against a backdrop of the better good.

I know most of you have seen this one by now, so all this secrecy is moot.  But if you haven’t, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

As an aside, I applied the basic 3-act/4-part story structure overview to the film, looking for all the major points I’ve been learning about and practicing and applying to my own writing.  And I found this fell perfectly into the structure, right down the time frames for each of the major points.  (I found out this was based on a play, which explains everything, after seeing the movie.)  It’s been a lot of fun to learn this method and apply it to stories and movies, and I think I’m really getting the hang o fit now.  So, al I have to do is write I guess.

How as your weekend?

-JDT-

All original content copyright Darcknyt, 2009
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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6 thoughts on “There is no “Doubt”

  1. Wow, sounds like the movie really captivated you. I haven’t heard of it before, but that isn’t surprising.

    I got to leave work early Friday and meet up with my Daddy for lunch. As you know I am my Daddy’s little grease monkey, have been for 33 years. I love spending time with him and that was the best part of the weekend. It kind of went downhill from there.

    I fought with pretty much everyone all weekend long. Just couldn’t seem to work out anything right. I did the first installment of Lacey’s Legacy, as you saw, and your comments were very helpful and really made me think. I started working on the second installment but just couldn’t settle down. So the weekend was pretty much scrapped for me. Now if I can get through the work week, I get to go to the Yankee Peddler Festival with my Dad this weekend. I’ve never been, but who cares what we are doing, as long as we get to hang out.

    Sorry your weekend didn’t go well, but at least you have next weekend to look forward to. 🙂 Check this movie out when you can. Great stuff!

  2. Gotta put that one on Netflix.

    IT. IS. AWESOME. You gotta see it.

    My weekend was tiring because we had a birthday party, but not as tiring as usual, because my family is more of a help now than they used to be.

    And that’s a good thing! 🙂

  3. I’ve heard a lot about Doubt–almost all good. I’d like to see it, but I take very little time to see movies even though I’ve a long list of films to see. I am watching this miniseries called The 10th Kingdom. It is a fantasy flick–so nothing like Doubt of course–but I’m enjoying it.

    The weekend was just fine. Lots of rain which we so needed.

    Now have a good week!

    I’ll do my best. 🙂

  4. Just watched this tonight. In December my main book club watches a movie then meets to discuss rather than a book – because of the busy season. We meet tomorrow night and I am amazed at how much I have to say! The first thing that jumps out at me is the year it is set in – the year before the finalization of Vatican II. There are so many layers here that I really do wish it was a book! Thank you for the great review Darc!

    My pleasure, Jaymie. It was an amazing movie, wasn’t it? So powerful and well-written and acted. GREAT stuff.

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