Doubt Movie Review and Bluray Features
25 Dec. 2008
John Patrick Shanley
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Explain the cell phone in the movie
Where Meryl Streep confiscates the head phones of a student
It was a portable radio she confiscated, not a cell phone
She confiscated a small portable device called a “transistor radio”. I believe it was invented in the 1950’s and remained popular through the mid 1970’s. Kids and even adults carried them to listen to music and sporting events. You could listen either through the small built in speaker or a pair of ear phones.
Why didn’t anyone go to the proper authorities
. . . regarding Donald Miller’s home life?
Father Flynn knew that Donald’s father was abusing him (I am guessing Donald confided in him), and then, Donald’s own mother mentioned it to Sister Aloysius several times during their conversation.
Sister Aloysius is hell bent on taking care of the issue with Father Flynn, even though she has no concrete evidence and no admissions. She is simply going off her gut instinct. However, she has solid proof — an admission from Donald’s mother — that the boy is being abused at home. Why didn’t she go to the authorities? Stop allowing your “hunch” to take precedence over something that you KNOW is fact.
Is it because things were different back in the 60s? Were child abuse cases just not addressed? Did schools not intervene when a student was being abused at home? Did it have something to do with the color of Donald’s skin?
There’s a difference between corporal punishment and abuse. Granted, today’s world is even stricter when it comes to what constitutes abuse, but still. Punishing your child for doing wrong vs. beating your child because you can’t stand him or her are two entirely different things. Donald’s mother tells S. Aloysius that her husband doesn’t like their son, and she truly believes that her husband will kill the boy if he were to find out that F. Flynn were molesting Donald. He also “beat the hell” out of Donald because of the boy’s same sex inclinations. That’s not corporal punishment. That is abuse born from ignorance and hatred.
Innocent until proven guilty
He wasn’t. He resigned based on the ambiguous threat couched as a lie. Nobody has an entirely clean past, including the nun. He could have had an episode of alcoholism or adultery or anything…and wouldn’t have wanted it brought into the public eye.
Nothing was proven, nothing was confessed, and no evidence was supplied.
Innocent until proven guilty is the logic of justice.
FLYNN: Where’s your compassion?
ALOYSIUS: Nowhere you can get at it.
FLYNN: The dragon is hungry.
We must be careful how Donald Miller…
(Sister James spills the tea)
Whooa! Easy there sister
Every easy choice today will have its consequence tomorrow.
SISTER JAMES: I like Frosty the Snowman!
Amy Adams is so cute in this film.
ALOYSIUS: When you take a step to address wrongdoing, you are taking a step away from God, but in his service.
RT/Meta Critic Review
I’m pretty happy with the conclusion that I’ve put together in my head. But, as with any certainty, I’ve got my doubts.(Click here to see)
In a brisk 104 minutes, we meet four compelling people, establish a living breathing school environment, tackle legitimate moral dilemmas and wrestle with topics we’ll spend longer than 104 minutes discussing (Click here to see)
An intellectually and emotionally exhausting and engrossing experience. It is drama of the highest caliber. (click here to see)
Doubt makes its deceptively humble Blu-ray debut with a suitably filmic 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer. While the most stringent videophiles among you may accuse the image of being a bit soft around the edges, Shanley’s subdued palette has been perfectly preserved, black levels are rich and fully resolved, contrast is striking, and dimensionality is thoroughly convincing. Better still, the clean and stable picture isn’t hindered by any significant artifacting, digital noise, distracting edge enhancement, or print instabilities. Sure, the film’s finest textures aren’t as crisp as they are on the latest-n-greatest, CG-laden demo discs, but foreground objects boast notable heft and refinement, background clarity is noteworthy, and faces, skin, and fabric have an attractive, natural appearance. The transfer even earns a degree of cinematic clout by forgoing the use of disruptive post-processing techniques, ungainly artificial sharpening, or unnecessary nonsense like noise reduction. The film’s grain field is in tact, yet never grows intrusive or inconsistent.
Will Doubt turn casual consumers’ heads if a savvy Best Buy employee tosses it into their store’s Blu-ray kiosk? Probably not. Even so, film enthusiasts will be pleased with Disney’s faithful presentation and technically proficient transfer
As you might expect, Doubt is an exceedingly quiet film that treasures hushed voices, atmospheric ambience, and restrained musical cues above all else. As a result, Disney’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track delivers a thoroughly measured lossless experience; one which relies on convincing effects and realistic acoustics to produce its simmering soundfield. Dialogue is impeccable, each line intelligible, and every sound perfectly layered within the mix. Directionality is accurate as well, relying on smooth pans and meticulous sound design to offset its at-times underwhelming qualities. Use of the LFE channel is calculated and reserved, but anything more would be a distraction. Likewise, the rear speakers are only called upon to support brief bursts of activity — otherwise, they’re relegated to enhancing the immersive properties of each locale and little more. Granted, it often amounts to a front-heavy mix, but it works well with the source material and subject matter. While Disney’s DTS-HD offering isn’t the sort of track that will sell discs, purists will be taken with its presence and precision.
Doubt‘s supplemental package may strike some as being too short and low-key, but I found it to be quite complimentary to the scope of the film itself. Fans will find a surprisingly compelling commentary that digs into the development of the story more often than the day-to-day details of the production, as well as a collection of engrossing featurettes that offer far more information than their runtime might suggest. To top it all off, Disney has encoded all of the video content in high definition… effectively leaving me with little to complain about.
- Audio Commentary: Writer/director John Patrick Shanley his Catholic upbringing, the personal experiences that led him to each aspect of his story, the creation of his central characters, and his development of the original stage production. Of course, he doesn’t ignore his film by any stretch of the imagination — he discusses casting, the nuances each actor brought to their role, and the differences between his stage and screen adaptations. Through it all, he manages to weave his autobiography together with an overview of the genesis of Doubt, producing a captivating commentary I would recommend to anyone and everyone who enjoyed the film.
- From Stage to Screen (HD, 19 minutes): While it covers similar ground, the disc’s main production featurette gives the cast and crew an opportunity to explore the film, its tone, and Shanley’s direction. Thankfully, it’s a candid affair that doesn’t get embroiled in its EPK-esque format.
- The Cast of Doubt (HD, 14 minutes): Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave Karger hosts a decent roundtable discussion with actors Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.
- The Sisters of Charity (HD, 7 minutes): Easily the most unexpected feature on the disc, this somewhat interesting mini-doc passes the mic to four real-life nuns who talk about their lives, their commitment to their faith, and the changes that have occurred behind-the-scenes in the American Catholic church over the decades.
- Scoring Doubt (HD, 5 minutes): An all-too-brief interview with Howard Shore that left me wondering why musical score featurettes are always so short and superficial.