Doubt (2008)

Entertainment Rating: A

This was a pretty good movie. One solely based on the performance of the actors, not on any special effects, and the cinematography was well done (though, I don't have the education to elaborate on it).

Moral Rating: 3

The themes in the movie are quite heavy: homosexuality, pedophilia, slander, etc. all of which involve the potential destruction of a man's reputation. Doubt is a theme that runs through the movie from start to finish. You're not really sure who to believe and what is the truth. There are evidences supporting both sides of the story. I couldn’t give a higher moral rating because the truth is so ambiguous.

[Spoiler Alert]

One particular take is that Father Flynn was guilty of inappropriate relations with young boys in the past, but has since confessed, and hopefully changed. Sister Aloysius refuses to let the man put his past behind him and insists on making him feel as if he's doomed forever and that there is no repentance possible, no opportunity for him to change. Sister Aloysius has good grounds to fear for the children of her school, she's not completely capricious in her actions, and ultimately has everyone's best interest at heart (with exception to Father Flynn).

Most people might come away from this show on Sister Aloysius's side - which doesn’t leave you feeling very good knowing that Father Flynn changes schools, gets a promotion, and can continue his lifestyle. I like to think that the synopsis I presented in the preceding paragraph is a good compromise by saying that either person (Aloysius or Flynn) isn't completely right or wrong - which is the type of situation we encounter in real life, things are rarely easily definable as black or white.

I particularly liked the scene with Father Flynn and Sister James sitting outside during winter. Regarding Sister Aloysius's taking advantage of Sister James's naiveté, Father Flynn says,
"There are people who go after your humanity, sister. They tell you that the light in your heart is a weakness. Don't believe it. It's an old tactic of cruel people to kill kindness in the name of virtue. There's nothing wrong with love." (I took this as a comment on Sis. James’s love, but it could be construed that he was talking about his own love for the altar boys.)

Elder Christofferson, an Apostle in the LDS church, related something similar at a conference held a few weeks ago regarding two business partners who were also brothers in the same church. One took financial advantage of the other. The other's family pleaded with the first partner, "You know this is not right. How could you take advantage of someone this way, especially a brother in the same church?" This plea was met with a response by the first partner's lawyer, "Oh, grow up! How can you be so naive?" This condescending epithet of naivete reminded me of the above statement by Father Flynn to Sister James. Sister James did seem a little naive (e.g., her lack of suspicion of her students, being surprised when Sister Aloysius has her place a picture on the chalkboard to keep her eyes on the students), and it seemed that Sister Aloysius used this innocence to pull Sister James over to her side.

What did you think about the show?

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