Have You Seen the Movie "Doubt"?

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Have You Seen the Movie "Doubt"?

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Editado: Ago 31, 2009, 3:47pm

Well I see there hasn't been a lot of interest here recently. Maybe a movie topic might drum up some responses.

I saw a movie called "Doubt" recently. It had a reasonably long run as a play on Broadway. Have any of you seen it? If you have, I'm wondering what you thought of it.

The director and others said not to tell anyone about the movie because it is open to so many levels of interpretation, you'll be surprised how many answers you might generate.

In that spirit I will not speak anymore to its content but wait for someone to kick off the discussion.

In Christ,


Out 5, 2009, 3:06pm

Okay, I'll kick off the discussion.

I watched "Doubt" with only a very basic knowledge of the subject matter, and I think I can best summarize by response by saying that I enjoyed the concept of the movie while I was disappointed by the execution.

It is indeed open to many levels of interpretation, and since I do not want to give anything away for those who have not seen it, I will simply state that the title word has many different meanings -- a fact that makes it a very intriguing story. It's not a movie about priestly sexual abuse per se, nor is it anti-Catholic.

At the same time, the movie is very ham-fisted and obvious. The movie includes two of my favorite actors, and though they both deliver great performances, the material they have to work with ultimately fails them. The director, and especially the screenwriter, seem to have no sense of subtlety, and tend to take to make obvious points and hit you over the head with them (the sudden rainstorm, a light bulb burning out -- twice).


Editado: Out 6, 2009, 11:57am

You enjoyed the "concept" of the movie... could you be a bit more specific?

Couldn't one of the interpretations be about sexual abuse?

White House Safe Schools "Czar" Kevin Jennings praised the founder of NAMBLA Harry Hay and hid statutory rape from authorities. Hay was the one who said that 13-14-15 year old boys "need" the guidance of an older man. He later went on to found the North American Man Boy Love Association. Could one see the priest as providing a loving response to the gay youth in the film?

Is the "doubt" in the title about the Church rejecting the the Meryl Streep's character's interpretation of the interaction and supporting the priest by moving him to another parish with a promotion?

How many gays would look at the film and the interactions between the young man and the priest and say "He did nothing wrong."

Can you illustrate how the film was "ham-fisted and obvious."


Jan 5, 2010, 5:03pm

Ok, I'll clarify what I said a bit.

I've not read anything about the intentions of the director or screenwriter, but I think the movie is about the nature of doubt in general. Though it's certainly implied, you never really know for certain if the priest has abused the boy or not. And I think the director intended that. Perhaps it's commenting on the nature of sexual abuse (with judgment made weighing the statements of a child vs. an adult), or even priestly sexual abuse. Perhaps, too, it's about how Meryl Streep's character rushed to judgment, and maintained a certainty that was flase or ultimately baseless. Her last line in the movie seems to suggest that. Either way, I think the movie is not about priestly sexual abuse per se.

When church authorities reject decline to take seriously Meryl Streep's character's accusations, it could be for any number of reasons: there didn't seem to be any basis to them, or it was a he said/she said situation with nothing additional to add weight to either side, or that they were covering up his abuse (as indeed happened in several instances in real life), or any other number of things. It's about doubt: and perhaps the point is that church authorities doubted her assertions.

Nothing in the film even remotely suggested that the boy -- or the priest -- was gay. Homosexuality has little or nothing to do with pedophilia in general or priestly sexual abuse in particular. And I think very few gays or their supporters would view the film and absolve the priest of any wrongdoing, or approve of what the priest (allegedly) did. Quite the contrary, in fact, as most gays never tire of countering the incorrect assertion of a link between pedophilia and homosexuality.

As to its ham-fistedness -- by which I mean lack of subtlety -- one scene in particular will serve as an example of what I mean. The lightbulb burning out while the priest was in the nun's office was symbolic. But to repeat it later in the film -- and have the nun comment on it -- was obvious, and yes, ham-fisted. In my opinion, repeating the scene, and adding her commentary, is by way of the director or screenwriter saying that the film's audience is not smart enough to pick up on it. And that's rather insulting to the filmgoer, and lazy on the screenwriter's part.

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