Went to the NYC premiere of Doubt on Sunday night. The film adaptation of the massively acclaimed stage play delivers as it should, but not much beyond the minimum. It’s a fine story, a great cast, and some wickedly impressive dialogue. As a feature film, though, it doesn’t offer up more than a great foursome of performances from Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis. All four of these actors have stunning moments of emotional rawness, and the film is worth seeing only for that, but there isn’t a whole lot left to chew on.
I was raised Catholic, and I appreciate the film’s clever depiction of the clash between new-school and old-school Catholicism. I also identify with the film’s themes of faith, trust, and certainty. The parallel between a school scandal and the existence of God, is deft. That’s why the play won Tonys, that’s why the play won a Pulitzer Prize. But, the film, will probably have a hard time winning any Oscars. It will get nominations, I have no doubt (pun intended). In particular for Meryl Streep, who wows yet again as the stern school principal. And, how about Viola Davis. She only has one scene, but it’s so electric and jaw-dropping, you almost want to applaud the screen. If she doesn’t earn awards she will at least earn a good deal of attention.