Doubt, a movie starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, DVD version
Five out of five stars
Given the archaic internal phone system in the school as well as other temporal clues such as the nun uniforms, this story takes place well before the major scandal in the Catholic Church involving sexually deviant priests. Therefore, in some ways, the rigid Sister Aloysius (Streep) is ahead of her time. However, in everything else she is opposed to all basic changes that are being proposed and implemented by the popular Father Flynn (Hoffman). Given her rigid and authoritarian nature in her role as principal of the Saint Nicholas Church School, Sister Aloysius is feared and despised by the student body.
Totally convinced that she is right, Sister Aloysius embarks on a campaign of accusing Father Flynn of having inappropriate contact with a troubled boy. He is the only black student on campus and so is being singled out for ridicule, Father Flynn is simply showing some basic kindness to the boy. The goal of Sister Aloysius is to simply create enough doubt in the minds of others in order to destroy his reputation. To do this, she thinks nothing of engaging in lying and wild embellishments.
Although she wears the symbols of her devotion and took vows to do good, Sister Aloysius is the very demonstration of evil in female clothing. Streep plays the role superbly, all ice except for a few moments of vulnerability. Hoffman also plays his role very well, but the performance that does most to exploit the ambiguity of the movie is that of Amy Adams. She plays a nun that is a history teacher at the school and was the first person to raise a question about Father Flynn. She gets a very significant lesson in how actions have consequences, but by then it is too late to undo the damage she has done.