On Dec. 25 a large chunk of the population celebrates Christmas. Many do this by going to the movies. One of the millions of films released on the Christian holiday is Doubt, pulling viewers in using an all-star cast: Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, Boogie Nights), Meryl Streep (Kramer Vs. Kramer, Adaptation), and Amy Adams (Catch Me If You Can, Junebug). That’s two Oscar winners and a nominee-not too shabby.
All of the actors brought their A-game. Such acclaim cannot be given to the director and the writers. The acts seemed to be out of order, and when a turning point seems on the horizon the film concludes. Surprise! Acts are the first thing people learn about when writing scripts — get with it.
Some films incorporate the idea of “let the meaning be up to the audience,” which is generally a good idea. However, almost everything in the film was left up to the audience. If this is going to be done, the creators should at least give their audience a foundation to stand on. Of course, the film’s title may imply that, not only those participating but also those watching should experience some doubts about what is really going on.
The directing wasn’t awful, just heavy-handed. How often can someone tilt the camera in order to make a scene feel uncomfortable? The answer is whenever director John Patrick Shanley wants. Lucky for him (and the writers) the actors do much to take away from these mistakes.
Despite the criticism, the film is entertaining and enthralling. It’s easily worth seeing and even worth analyzing (not that the viewers will have a choice).
Powerful performances (from the entire cast) carry this film, and no one should be surprised if a few of the actors get nods from the academy. However, if the people behind the camera receive any recognition, several minds will be blown, to say the least.