Doubt

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(out of 5)


Tradition clashes with modern thinking at a Catholic school run by nuns in 1960s New York City. Priest gives sermons that capture and stir the emotions of his parishioners with their tolerance for scepticism and fluidity in Catholic belief, raising a flag in the mind of the hard-edged, fundamental school principal .  When sweet, possibly naïve teacher sees something odd between Hoffman and the one black student at the newly integrated school, she reports it to Streep and gives the headmistress the first means of attack with which to face her opponent head-on. From there progresses a masterfully written, incredibly performed drama about conviction and perspective as these characters try to sort out the difficulty of existing in an imperfect world with no certainty. Adapted by John Patrick Shanley (who also directs) from his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play, the film is quite obviously interpreted from the theatre (it’s told mostly in long two-hander scenes) yet doesn’t suffer from staginess. Shanley uses the claustrophobic settings to his advantage and relies on his incredible writing, which is made richer by effective uses of humour, and a perfect cast of actors: Streep is so electrifying that her every word will leave you hanging for more, while Adams, Hoffman and especially  (who is unforgettable as the student’s mother in just one sequence) contribute immense strength to the proceedings. It feels at times like you’re watching a filmed play, but damn it all to hell, what a play!


 

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USA, 2008

Directed by

Screenplay by John Patrick Shanley, based on his play

Cinematography by

Produced by ,

Music by

Production Design by 

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


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Academy Award Nominations
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Philip Seymour Hoffman as “Father Brendan Flynn”)
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep as “Sister Aloycius Beauvier”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Amy Adams as “Sister James”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Viola Davis as “Mrs. Miller”)
Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) (John Patrick Shanley)

Golden Globe Award Nominations
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Meryl Streep)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Amy Adams)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Viola Davis)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Best Screenplay (John Patrick Shanley)

New York Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)

Los Angeles Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)

National Society of Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)

National Board Of Review Awards
Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actress (Viola Davis)
Best Acting by an Ensemble (Viola Davis, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep)

Screen Actors Guild Award
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep)

Nominations
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Amy Adams
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Viola Davis)
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

Writers Guild Award Nomination
Best Adapted Screenplay

British Academy Award Nominations
Best Leading Actress (Meryl Streep)
Best Supporting Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams)

Toronto Film Critics Award Nominations
Best Performance, Female (Meryl Streep)
Best Supporting Performance, Female (Viola Davis)
Best Supporting Performance, Male (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
Best Screenplay

Boston Film Critics Award Nomination
Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)


Doubt

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