Meryl Streep

Is it good to have doubt?

I can’t comment on that question with regards to faith, but in a world where everyone’s so different, it’s surely foolish and naïve, and even rather dangerous, to have too much certainty.

That’s my opinion anyway.

I found myself thinking about this considerably after watching Doubt – the Oscar-nominated film based on the play by John Patrick Shanley.

Philip Seymour Hoffman

In the film, Meryl Streep plays Sister Aloysius, the strict principal of a Bronx school in the socially-changing climate of the 1960s. When charming liberal priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) arrives at the school, Sister Aloysius shows signs of unease with his alien ways, and when a colleague informs her that the school’s sole African-American pupil behaved oddly after spending time with this newcomer, her doubts are ignited.

Meryl Streep

Controlled, tight-lipped and visibly resistant to change of any sort, Meryl Streep’s Sister Aloysius is utterly compelling to observe. Her inner struggle with her suspicions over her colleague’s moral conduct, her doubt over her own judgement, and her doubts about her faith can only be guessed at, but her battle is hinted at with entrancing unease as she attempts to go about her daily business.

Meryl Streep

Streep is amazing and her performance in this movie is totally deserving of its Oscar nomination in my opinion. But, this is only my opinion. I doubt that everyone shares it. In fact my Movie Talk colleague Jason Best had a very different view of Meryl’s performance in this film, as stated in his recent post:

“Her fussy, finicky performance, with all its insufferably mannered physical and vocal tics, is sheer camp.”

Interesting eh? Reading this made me doubt my own judgement of the film a little. Additionally, reading this made me doubt Jason Best’s judgement of the film a little, particularly after fruitlessly searching Meryl’s performance for the physical and vocal tics he so confidently describes.

But, hey, so what? There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of doubt. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – doubt is good. It’s a healthy acknowledgement that we’re all very different. And that, in my opinion, is what makes life so interesting.

Did this film make you think about the nature of doubt? If so, please share.

Doubt is available on demand from today on Sky Box Office and FilmFlex