Saturday, May 2, 2009

Doubt


Another week, another Oscar-nominated movie that we didn't see in the theater (thank you, Netflix!).

Doubt is ostensibly about a preist (Philip Seymoure Hoffman) who appears to have a conspicuously close relationship with a young altar boy in 1964. But the story is really about a nun, the principal at the parish's grade school (Meryl Streep), who is unwavering in her demand that the priest resign, despite having no evidence whatsoever that the priest has engaged in any wrongdoing. All she has, she admits, is her "experience" and "confidence". She is generally bewildered by the worldliness (as she views it) that is beginning to permeate the church and school with the tacit approval of the powers that be.

The words "homosexual", "gay", "pedophile", or any of their variants are never uttered by anybody. Nor is there a single depiction of anything revolting or vulgar. This ambiguity is part of what makes the film worthwhile.

But ultimately it is the final snowy, dreary scene that underscores the film's true theme and puts a bold exclamation point at the end of its title.

Is it a sin to doubt God? Yes. So what do you do when life seems to give you so many good reasons to doubt? Talk to a priest?

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