I have doubts. I have such doubts.
The setting for this film which is based on a play, is 1964 at St. Nicholas school in the Bronx. The Principal Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep) who loves nothing more than to terrify the children as she is a big believer in discipline. Sister James (Amy Adams) has just started teaching and does not have any of the same mannerisms as Sister Aloysius. Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) a well liked priest is popular in the local community with the Sunday masses he does the sermon for.
The school accepts its first black student Donald Miller, who is an altar boy. It isn’t long before Sister James thought something not right was going on with Father Flynn as Donald was crying when coming back to class one day. Sister James voices her concerns to Sister Aloysius who then sets off trying to search for the truth. Although without any evidence and any real accusations she has already made her mind up that Flynn is guilty.
Sister Aloysius has a meeting with Mrs. Miller (Viola Davis) which transforms into the best scene and performance (from Davis) in the whole film. Sister Aloysius voices her concerns about Father Flynn and wants to know if she thought anything was wrong with Donald at home. The scene moves from the office out into the street which was just fantastic with the weather clarifying the mood of the people. Mrs. Miller in a tearful speech admits that Donald is homosexual, and even at one point says she does not mind if her son was in an improper “relationship” with Father Flynn. Sister Aloysius was mortified with the attitude.
The second best scene which occurred had to be between Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn. Which is the confrontation scene when she accuses him and it results in him leaving. After she tells him she has been in contact with people from his previous parish’s and spoken to a lot of people in the community and knows all about his past. His reaction kinda says it all and tells her that he will leave now.
In the final scene Sister Aloysius literally breaks down while talking to Sister James that she doubts, such doubts. She admits that she made no phone calls and had no contact with anyone from Father Flynn’s previous Parish’s. So he must have been guilty just to leave. This is something we would never truly know about his past. But then we do not know anything about her past either.
So I found this film to contain some fantastic performances, Meryl Streep nominated for actress in a leading role again, Philip Seymour Hoffman a supporting role and both Amy Adams and Viola Davis in supporting roles. I was quite surprised to see the acclaim towards Adams’ part in this film as I did not really think it was that good. She sounded exactly the same as her role in “Enchanted” so I kept expecting her to break out in song and dance about the place. But Viola Davis was incredible, with hardly any screen time, Judi Dench done it for “Shakespeare in Love”. I don’t think Streep will win for best actress, I have a feeling it has Kate Winslet’s name on it this year. As with the supporting actor Heath Ledger already has that in the bag.
I do have a few doubts of my own over this film, yes that was a terrible pun but it had to be done! I just felt like it could have been filmed in a different way at times. Like you can tell its based on a stage production and I dont think much visually changed when it was adapted. Still a must see this Oscar season !!!