Movie Review: “Doubt”

A young nun teacher observed a strange bond developed between a black student and the Father (Philip Semour Hoffman) of the church, coupled with some strange behavior. She told her superior, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), rather casually without much conviction. But Sister Aloysius was convinced that there had been an inappropriate relationship. Without seeking evidences, she convinced the Father to resign and transfer after his putting up a big fight.

It’s amazing to me that a series of coincidences (the child’s alcohol breath, Father’s returning of the child’s underwear, the caring gesture of the Father toward the boy) can be easily construed as circumstantial evidences against the Father. With them, System Aloysius convinced herself of his bad deed and fought him to the nail without seeking more evidences. To me, this is a tragedy biased by the past abuses of power in the church – you’re guilty until proven innocent. In the name of protecting the children, people are more than willing to crucify the good people. Isn’t it how Jesus was crucified? How ironic!

Both Hoffman and Meryl Streep are excellent in this movie. The conversation between Meryl and the mother of the boy was quit uncomfortable to watch; a mother was willing to trade an abusive, unloving father for a pedophile, as the principle accused the Father to be, just because he’s nicer. What a trade off: whichever is less of the evil!

I have learned that it’s important to check and double-check to test your belief before accusing someone of the grave sin/crime. So many people have been hurt because of some people’s imprudence. Like the metaphor in the movie, the feathers letting out of a pillow are very hard to collect and fix.