If you have not seen the movie or play "Doubt," then don't read this until after you do - because to me, the worst thing in the world is when one goes into a play or movie with any kind of expectations or knowledge of what it's about or about the ending - the expectations always distort the experience. I just came back from seeing this movie minutes ago. I'm not revealing much about it here but you still should not read it if you have not seen it because it will influence you to some extent as to what to expect.
I looked forward to seeing the film of the play "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley and the anticipation was well rewarded to say the least. I don't see how the movie could have possibly been better than it was. It's hard to get back to normal tasks because I don't want to dilute the experience of the movie and start thinking about other things.
I read the play around November 2007. At first I was disappointed to find that the story revolved around whether or not a priest was guilty of molestation because this topic had already been in the news of course, so much. But that disappointment vanished as I continued reading the play.
I read the play unfortunately after I missed my chance to see both the Broadway and touring companies with Cherry Jones and the original cast. I was vexed that I could not find anywhere a DVD of the play itself. I know that it's not the same to see a recording of a stage performance, but if there's no way to see these performances once they're over (surely there must be) then this is a crime! I really wanted to see Cherry Jones' much lauded performance AND all the others as well. I also had a hard time imagining Meryl Streep (who is in a class by herself among actresses, and whose movies have been favorites of mine since the start) in this role. Of course I should have known that she can do anything when it comes to acting. I loved her performance in this movie because it was so true and it had to come from the heart. And it must have been a very challenging role to play so well.
I don't see a lot of movies either because many of them contain things that are truly upsetting, and due to working much more since being self-employed. So only a few weeks ago did I finally see "Capote" and the wonderful performance by Philip Seymour Hoffmann.
"Doubt" really is not so much about the suspicion /or/actions that compel the sister to investigate a crime, but about the layers of harm and the consequences of those actions. Like feathers but much heavier (alluding to one of the sermons).
I'm so glad that I saw this movie by myself. If someone had been with me and had ruined the movie with some inane joke or complaint then it would have really diminished the experience.
The very end left me in tears (translation: a complete wreck; glad that there weren't many in that afternoon's screening due to the tears coming down my face and no doubt my expression), thinking of the price that was paid by one person for trying - succeeding even - to do the right thing.
Other lasting impressions: The scene in the classroom with the young nun becoming someone she'd never been. The boy who knew what was happening (especially when he saw his classmate's mother in the nun's office, with the priest anxiously at the door - what a telling picture that was).
This is a great movie, I will most definitely see it again soon, and read the play again, it is sheer brilliance. The playwright directed the film of his own play; that also was pretty amazing, and he most certainly has a triumph on his hands. I loved the art direction. Loved the recreation of a Catholic school from this time - something that is no more. (I did unfortunately work for a very unhappy nun for a year and it was definitely the pits.) Loved the hymn at the end credits. I would love to know everything that went into the creation of the play and the movie; I hope John Patrick Shanley narrates the commentary on the DVD (don't you hate it when you hardly ever get the principal players or directors on these commentaries, but they are still interesting).
"Doubt" is amazing, make sure to see it, but don't read this in advance.