“Doubt” (2008)

With Doubt, I saw four Oscar-nominated performances in one film: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Viola Davis, the latter two for Best Supporting Actress.

Doubt is a “did he or didn’t he” tale of Hoffman’s priest in 1955, pre-Vatican II Brooklyn. Streep is the righteous nun, Adams a naive new nun, and Davis a student’s mother. The characters are drawn well and all are sympathetic, though some are also suspicious. Hoffman is good, but he never made my heart rend, as both Sean Penn in Milk and Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler did. Streep’s performance, though, is blazing. Adams is consistently strong in her many scenes; she’s really the main character, I think. But Davis is so jaw-droppingly powerful (and definitely heart rending) in her brief time on screen that I can see why she’s a favorite.

A good film, with great performances. It poses tough questions, then respects the viewer enough to leave them unanswered.

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