Monday, September 07, 2009

Doubt: Movie Review

Doubt is THE movie based on the play.. staring Amy Adams, Meryl Streep, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

on the surface, this movie looks like it's about whether a priest molested a child in the 1960s. but it is about so much more!

it is about "how do we know what we know?" namely, the postmodern problem. issues of "knowing" and "knowledge" are constantly brought up and questioned. the authority doesn't know anything more than we do... however, there is a bright side. Hoffman states that "Doubt can be a powerful a bond as certainty." meaning all the creeds, religions, and institutions and their claim on truth has garnered many allies... but saying "i don't know" can garner just as many.

we see the conflict of the old guard and the new... traditional catholic versus vatican II. authoritarian power relations structure versus a progressive, empathetic style. views of humanity being good and bad.

doubt has so much more than just molestation doubts... it's about how ppl bond and separate. the basis of community is if we confess our frailty and our skepticism, that is the best way to form strong communal bonds. Streep and Hoffman don't do this between the two of them, although they both connect to Adams, and thus their bond never solidifies.

i found this movie absolutely breathtaking. it's a minimalist show with nothing fancy, no swelling musical notes to enhance the mood or even bright colors... but it is spellbinding and it will be with you long after you watch it.


Anglican Gurl said...

I just watched this movie after you posted. My Netflix and your post lined up perfectly!

I loved this movie and your review is short and concise. You did a great justice to it. I love the idea that Doubt is a metaphor for the Catholic church in the 1960s with Vatican II, I would not have caught that otherwise.

But here's what I really want to know, do you think Hoffman's character molested the boy or not?

Luke said...

AG: i think asking whether the priest did it or not is pointless... we'll never know. my wife is a "yes, he did." and I am a "no, he didn't." but now i'm not so sure. like what's the deal with putting the undershirt back into the dude's locker?

what did he "leave at the feet of his confessor?" and still, what did Meryll's character do? what was her unforgivable sin?

Feodor said...

“To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.”

Henri Poincare
French mathmatician and astronomer