Moonhowlings 2nd movie discussion.

The film deals with gossip and innuendo in the setting of a Catholic school and parrish church a year after President Kennedy was killed.  Those days were far more clearly defined in terms of absolute morals and the unleashed gossip scatters in the wind and can never be totally retrieved. 

The film stars Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis, and Amy Adams

Join us.  Hopefully, Rick Bentley will be the moderator of our film discussion. 





Movie Link

28 Thoughts to “Doubt–The Movie”

  1. Rick Bentley

    Ah, well I’ll try but would appreciate your help Moon-howler as it’ll be a busy week for me. Welcome to the thread.

    The movie can provoke discussion on sex abuse in the Church, on sweeping secrets under the carpet, on closeted homosexuality, on hyprocrisy, and on trying to do the right thing in the absence of certainty. It’s a great drama. Meryl Streep is phenomenal in this, and you might notice that Philip Seymore Hoffman, a great actor, is great here also despite playing against type. The scenes here with the two of them alone are two greats playing their parts perfectly, totally natural.

    So, enjoy and let us know what you think about this intentionally provacative film.

  2. I thought it was a great recommendation, Rick. I also believe the main theme and story line could be picked up and plopped down anyway. I certainly didn’t feel it was anti Catholic or anti religion.

    My only techical criticiism, if it is even that, is I am not so sure in 1964 there would have been any discussion of sex abuse with kids or if a nun, even an old bitch nun would have had the affrontery to contront a priest. It was very much a man’s world back then. Perhaps some Catholics could weigh in on that one.

  3. Rick, I will be glad to help but I don’t have the insight into films that you do. I mainly just want to be entertained.

  4. Rick Bentley

    I thought that they showed it as a man’s world, with the nuns having very little power to affect men’s behavior.

  5. And they did. Except Sister A had power, probably because she took it.
    Was pedophilia even addressed back in those days? I don’t even know who to ask.

  6. Not Me, Bubba

    @Moon Howler – Read the Book “Our Fathers”….it goesd into the allegations and actions the church did back in the 1960’s when the abuse started. It is an excellent read….one of the priest-pedophiles actually died of AIDS from his sexcapades…and it is ALL non-fiction. It focuses upon the scandals in the Boston area, but includes other cities as well….where the church passed these priests off instead of reprimand/expunge them. They even had a special, secret sanitarium for pedophile priests – for DECADES. They knew, but sat on their rosaries.

  7. Thanks Bubba.

    Did you see Doubt? I thought it was an excellent movie and I thank Rick for recommending it.

    I enjoyed the symbols of the gossip in the film. Leaves and pillow feathers were used. Probably the best question is, was Father (darn Ihave forgotten his name) guilty of impropriety or was he maligned for just being a decent human being? How many people have been falsely accused, lives ruined because of reputation ruining remarks.

  8. Diversity Gal

    I love that this film never resolves the question. It is more realistic and challenging that way. I love the scene in which Amy Adams and Meryl Streep confront Phillip Seymour Hoffman about what happened with the little boy. It is a great actors’ performance piece because everything is about facial expression, movement, pauses, and tone of voice. Meryl Streep is so amazing in this, but so many others give great performances. Viola Davis is heartbreaking as Donald Miller’s mother, who is willing to put up with almost anything so that her son can stay at the school. The film is a real study of what goes on beneath the surface…

  9. Elena

    I found that part in the movie the most depressing actually, that a mom would have to choose between an education or a pedophile. Reminds me of Sophies Choice, another great Meryl Streep movie, probably the most haunting to this day for me. Even more relevant because not I have children.

  10. Diversity Gal

    OMG! Sophie’s Choice! I thought I would just die watching her make that decision. Back to Doubt…I found myself wondering what was in Sister Aloysius’s past. She spoke cryptically of her experience with situations like this.

  11. I need to rewatch Sophie’s Choice. It is not an instant watch.

    I wondered about Sister A’s past also.

    Did I misunderstand….that the boy’s mother said the father beat him because he had effeminate mannerisms?

    I also thought that perhaps the priest had been involved with a woman and that is why he moved on. I never got that eeewww feeling with him around that kid.

  12. Emma

    I’ll jump in to discuss the next movie that doesn’t deal with the failures of the Catholic Church.

  13. Diversity Gal

    Wow, Emma, do you object to the film simply for the subject matter? Are you saying you wouldn’t watch any film which might have a Catholic priest or nun who does something negative? Maybe you’re not saying that at all, and just don’t want to comment on its Catholic setting.

    I do not view it as an indictment of the entire Catholic Church. It is a truly interesting story and character study that allows the audience to make their own decisions about what is truly going on. It has some broader themes of gossip, assumptions, and how they affect/infect our lives. You see characters in deep battles with their own thoughts and suspicions, which is very compelling.

  14. Emma, I don’t see this film as a failing on the part of the Catholic Church. It could just as easily be any church or synogogue or it could not even take place in a church.

    Any failings in this film are failings of human beings and certainly failings that aren’t limited to the failings of Christians.

    I am going to be a skeptic and say I wasn’t entirely convinced that the priest did any thing wrong. He might have been a real hero. He was modernizing an institution that had long been dominated by strict rigid women. I am happier being convinced that the priest is a good guy. Erase all the ‘Doubt” from your mind and look at what a positive influence that guy was on so many of the kids. He helped the boys grow up, take care of grooming, was sort of a bud in that he was an approachable adult. Additionally, he befriended and watched out over a kid who was the only black kid in a school of white kids. The kid was also abused and he wanted to become a priest.

    This man could have been a very powerful, positive person in the lives of many young people, were it not for the suspicions.

    Emma, I wish you would come back and at least address why you feel we want to focus on the failures of the Catholic Church. That concerns me because that isn’t the focus here at all.

    Now I am wondering how Mormons felt during Big Love, even though those people weren’t LDS, a lot of people do associate stuff like polygamy with all Mormons.

    Hell my religion start off with beheading wives who pissed off the king. That’s hardly an endorsement of the peace and love of Christ.

  15. Emma

    Well, two movie reviews dealing with priest pedophilia, and a thread devoted to exorcism and pedophilia (and one gleeful, anti-Catholic poster making ignorant and uninformed comments) makes one wonder, Moon–and can also make a person feel just a little defensive.

  16. Emma

    Corr: I’m aware Constantine’ Sword doesn’t deal with pedophilia. But I’ve made my point.

  17. Rick Bentley

    Emma I didn’t recommend the movie as any Catholic-bashing exercise. The Streep character is Catholic and a hero in it (to my viewing).

    I definitely get the eewwww feeling from the Priest. I have little doubt myself from the movie that he was at a minimum sexually attarcted to boys and acting out on at least some level.

    The scene with Viola Davis – a good long scene – is great. I heard her say that Streep deserves much of the credit for how well the scene turned out, that working with her you have a chance to look great.

    As a film aficianado, I think it’s obvious that Streep is really the greatest actress we’ve seen on film. (I pick Pacino among males). Though I support giving the Oscar that year to Winslet instead for “The Reader”.

  18. Rick Bentley

    I thought “Doubt” would be a perfect choice but for the fact that it’s two in a row arguably anti-Catholic. Sorry about that Emma. I picked it because :

    A. There’s ambiguity in it which provokes discussion about real things
    B. A lot of people haven’t seen it, and will probably enjoy it, especially as Streep is so great in it
    C. It’s actually less offensive than a lot of other films I might recommend to friends for discussion pieces – “The Reader” and “Happiness” came to mind. “Happiness” would be a GREAT moivie for discussion but is extremely disturbing and unsettling.

  19. Rick Bentley

    (The things we would end up discussing are the degree to which sexuality is animal, the level of perversion inherent in humans, sexuality as self-worth, and the unsettling issue well-illustrated in the film that probably pedophilia isn’t learned, probably pedophiles are born into a cursed existence).

  20. Al

    I’m a member of the League of Women Voters (LWV). It’s a great group for independent voters (and there’s no physical to join). Yesterday, we watched PBS’s “One Woman, One Vote”. I was “stunned” by what women actually went through, and what men inflected on them, in their fight to get the vote. Every American should see this movie least we forget.

    It’s not main stream commercial stuff; however, it’s one of the most quietly powerful movies I’ve watched in a long time. The other LWV members suggested I also watch “Iron Maiden”. Since their first movie recommendation was so good, I think I’ll take the second,.

    After watching that movie, I would really like to start a movement to re-name the Woodrow Wilson bridge. I don’t think women who “weren’t there” are aware of the misery he inflicted on those brave activists and the efforts he devoted to denying the women of America the right to vote.

  21. Happy Harry

    You should also see HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels – I can’t drive past Lorton Prison w/o thinking about what Alice Paul and Lucy Burns suffered there –

  22. Rick Bentley

    Thanks Al, I’m going to watch that.

  23. Censored bybvbl

    Happy Harry, if you haven’t already visited the Lorton art center, you should. It has some historical material on display.

  24. Al

    Thanks, Happy Harry and Censored… the LWV folks made the same recommendation (Iron Jawed Angels)… and mentioned Lorton. I was told about the material on display, and will check it out.

  25. Al

    You know (and I want to be careful so as to not offend) I just can’t understand why any women in America wouldn’t vote if they knew the sacrifices others made to secure them that right. Activists have a lot to learn from examining the experience of the Suffragettes as they also pioneered many of the protest techniques that we use today.

    And I really would like to re-name Woodrow Wilson Bridge Susan B. Anthony Bridge… Wilson played a shameful part in this story.

  26. Rick Bentley

    Maybe they don’t vote because the choices suck? Because they’re all corrupt charlatans?

    I used to vote and I used to follow politics closely. In retrospect I think it was a waste of time.

  27. Rick Bentley

    And I’m sure a lot of women voted for Obama over McCain on women’s rights issues and fear that the GOP would work to make abortion more difficult – which Obama has just done.

  28. Happy Harry

    Censored bybvbl :
    Happy Harry, if you haven’t already visited the Lorton art center, you should. It has some historical material on display.

    I’m going to take my daughters to the Occoquan Regional Park – they have a set up there also (where the old beehive kiln is). It made me sick to watch Iron Jawed Angels when those women were being force fed and beaten, neglected and isolated for no reason other than they wanted equal rights.

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