Another past Walt Disney title gets a new distributor and fresh DVD and Blu-ray release, this time courtesy of French company Studio Canal. John Patrick Shanley brings his award-winning stage show Doubt to the big screen with brilliant effect in this fine film adaptation. Meryl Streep is terrifically brittle in the role of nun Sister Aloysius, who accuses the school priest of sexually abusing an altar boy. But she hasn’t any proof to back up her accusation (apart from the uncertain musings of younger teacher Amy Adams).
The subject of child sex abuse is handled with commendable restraint, and the theme is a resounding reminder of the terrible crimes the Catholic church have committed in the past – crimes that go largely unpunished to this day.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is also magnificent as the accused priest, and shows the level of emotional acting talent he displayed in Capote. Although displaying the same kindness and innocence she had in Enchanted, Amy Adams is also believable, though perhaps without reaching the heights of Streep and Hoffman. The stagy dialogue enriches the film rather than hinders it, making Doubt a great example of how cinema and theatre can work well together.
Doubt (2009), directed by John Patrick Shanley, is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Studio Canal, certificate 15.