I saw Doubt – the play, in New Orleans last year. I also enjoyed Doubt – the movie, just as much. What impressed me the most was that like the play, the movie actually trusts you to draw your own conclusion. I thought for sure, Hollywood would try to tie this movie up with a bow and force feed an ending to us. This freedom is also frustrating because, like the play, you leave the movie thinking you know if the priest is guilty or not, only to remember a line of dialogue or a scene which changes your opinion.
When I saw the play I left believing that Father Flynn was innocent, however, when I left the movie, I believed that Sister Aloysious had better proven her case this time. I’m not sure if this is due to the script, the acting, or from seeing a movie that “shows you the information” versus a play that via dialogue, “tells you the information.” Or perhaps it’s easier for me to believe that Meryl Streep is telling the truth and that Philip Seymour Hoffman is a creepy, pedophile.
The movie gives you much more subtle, visual information: The non-verbal behaviors of the children, the weird obsession with the long length of Father Flynn’s nails, as well as the social rules of the the 1960’s. Specifically that nuns and priests couldn’t be alone behind closed doors without a third party and that nuns were expected, albeit, required to be subservient to the priests.
This hierarchy, finally explains to me how so much pedophilia went on in the Catholic church. I finally get that a nun busting a priest would have been as difficult as a member of the police force busting a dirty cop. I often wondered why nuns so embroiled and in charge of the children they taught, didn’t intervene more on behalf of children. Yet as doubt indicates, (Spoiler Alert – Stop reading if you haven’t seen the film yet) even though Sister Aloysious succeeded in removing Father Flynn, he was simply moved to another parish and promoted, not investigated.
So I’m curious. If you saw the movie was he guilty or not? Did you believe the priest or the nun? And if you saw the play as well as the movie, did you think differently about the ending depending upon the medium?