Doubt, 2008 / John Patrick Shanley

doubt-movie-poster-2008-1020437077I waited for several days before sitting down to recap Doubt in my mind. So first things first – the central part for me was the performance of Meryl Streep. As an actress, she is definitely in a class of her own, a living classic. So yeah, her talent is undoubted, and could be taken for granted, to some degree. Not her personality though. Not Meryl Streep the human being. Because it’s exactly this part of her that brings uniqueness to her roles – her humanity. I do have a crush on Meryl Streep, in a way that I wish she was my favourite aunt. I would spend days on end with her.

Being such a vital person, it’s incredible how perfectly controlled her performance in Doubt is. She is a conservative bitch that truly hates modernity, and seems immovable in her views on religion, the secular world, education and race issues. But as you watch through Shanley’s adaptation of his own (apparently successful) theatrical play, you cannot help but feel there is something beneath her surface. Something simmering very low down there, something driving her, some secret that maybe even she cannot define for herself. There is the feeling of a woman trapped, or should I say – of a human being trapped within her own limitations and belief system. And this only becomes truly apparent in the final scene between Sister Aloysius (Streep) and Sister James (Amy Adams)…

Otherwise, it’s a movie about the very current pedophilia-in-priests issue – but not really. Instead of going documentary or didactic on the subject, the script rather focuses on exploring the shades of doubt within a set of characters – Aloysius, James, Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman in yet another near-perfect role), and an African-American mother (Viola Davis, with a very understated, but powerful performance). Doubt is a very universal, and then a very personal thing, and all we know is that we can never know. One of the flaws of the movie is that it in a way nudges us in one of the possible directions, suggesting a truth to be discovered – while there is the sense that keeping viewers on the very edge till the very end could have given the film even more weight. Anyway, it’s worth watching even only because of the two confrontation scenes involving Streep – vs. Hoffman and vs. Davis.

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The personal website of director Ivaylo Minov

I am a Bulgarian-born filmmaker working between Sofia and London. Over the last six years, I have been directing TV commercials for agencies like DDB, Leo Burnett, Lowe Swing, Publicis, Huts JWT, Demner Merlicek & Bergmann. I have worked for a wide range of clients – from mobile telecoms through charities to a viral campaign for a presidential candidate at the 2011 elections in Bulgaria.

I have a film making diploma from the London Film Academy, following a BA degree in Journalism by the American University in Bulgaria. I have worked in media and theatre, before discovering my passion for film making and turning it into a full-time devotion.

Find me at:
liaminov (at) gmail.com
0044 7757 428696 (UK)
00359 886 880564 (BG)

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