Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It


Wednesday, Jan 21 2009
With its bristling topicality, ritzy cast and Roger Deakins’s gracefully bleak cinematography, John Patrick Shanley’s adaptation of his 2005 play about an old-school Catholic nun in the early 1960s who goes after a priest she suspects of sexual abuse, is prime Oscar bait. In Shanley’s entertainingly callow hands, provocation passes for complexity, ushered in periodically by waves of premonitory winter weather that coats the Bronx parochial school where a timid young sister (Amy Adams), unnerved by what looks like unusually close contact between the school’s well-liked priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and its first black pupil, reports her misgivings to the school principal, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep). Before you can say independent inquiry, off goes the bonneted termagant to grind the machinery of blind justice. Though Shanley throws in some clues to enlarge our perceptions of nun and priest, Doubt is only marginally about moral uncertainty, which in any case he confuses with a preposterous moral relativism. It’s more about the sins of a nosy old biddy pulling out the stops when going through the official channels of a male-dominated Catholic Church would get her nowhere. Knowing what we know now, I was left wishing there had been more vigilant old bats around like Sister Aloysius to shield Catholic children from the predators within.
Starts: Jan. 23. Daily, 2009

About The Author

Ella Taylor


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"