Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No Doubt About Streep

I finally saw the movie “Doubt” and all I can say is that Meryl Streep is truly one of the greatest actresses of all time. She could get nominated for an Academy Award for reading the phone book aloud.

In “Doubt” Streep plays Sister Aloysius Beauvier, a nun, who’s the much feared principal of a Catholic school in the Bronx in 1964. She believes in discipline and she believes in the old traditional Catholic ways. She embraces her faith with every ounce of her being.

When Sister James (Amy Adams) confides to Sister Aloysius about Father Flynn’s (Philip Seymour Hoffman) suspicious behavior with the only black student in the school Sister Aloysius sets out to find the truth and expunge Father Flynn from the school and parish. Did Father Flynn have sex with the student? Sister Aloysius has no solid proof, but relies on her instincts to do the right thing.

Streep shines in this role, and with a simple facial expression she conveys what other actresses would need pages of script to do.

I was reared in the Catholic church and while watching this film all my old fears and issues were brought to the surface: mean nuns, strict archaic rules, my years as an altar boy, priests who lie, the hypocrisy of confessionals, and those dreadful Sunday sermons. (I’m a recovering Catholic.)

It’s interesting how this film portends the sex scandals and criminal cover up that would rock the Catholic church in the following decades.

So how does the film end? Father Flynn leaves the parish, but ends up in another church with a better position. Punishment? It’s the Catholic version of priest punishment.

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