Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doubt (2008)

     Doubt (2008) is the kind of film that I make a weak effort to see in the theater, fully comfortable in the fact that I will eventually see it at home.  It is what I really should be watching, but I am just too damn comfortable watching crap. Why take the time to watch something that invites me to think?  There are times when most of us like to be able to just have a movie play out without having to worry about it ever deviating from formula, but it is important to remember that thinking is good.  It is the defense against an endless and enduring stream of crap.
     Not that Doubt is the most demanding film to watch.  There is a smooth, sensible progression of the plot.  The characters are largely defined through their roles, with their personalities being defined more to show the contrasts between them and the range of humanity within the Church.  The conflict is intensely personal, avoiding the larger implications in direct presentation, but wholly engaging the audience to explore the implications of both the personal rivalries and damages covered up by the Church for such a long time.
     It isn't as though I did my homework and read or saw Doubt: A Parable (2004) before seeing the movie.  I read it shortly after seeing the film, but that sort of spoils the experience.  The dialogue takes on the cadence and rhythm of the actors who performed it, leaving the reader to simply remember the lines and scenes rather than to experience them anew.  But what it did allow was for me to better appreciate how John Patrick Shanley expanded his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play.  The film has no need to be as sparse or constricting as the play, and it brings extra life to it to have the children, other sisters and priests, and parishioners inhabit the same space as the essential characters. 
     I am positive that many qualified critics have dissected, critiques, and (largely) praised Doubt.  I am not going to lie.  I don't want to invest the time to even attempt to do that.  I am just going to encourage those who have not seen the movie or play (or read the play) to make time for it.  And to not be afraid of thinking.  Because one cannot question without thinking, and once cannot have doubt without questioning. 


  1. I'm confused. Did you like it or not?

  2. I liked it a lot. I was just laying the groundwork for a steady stream of 'crap' films that will appear on this blog.