John Patrick Shanley hadn’t directed a film in 18 years and his last and only effort was Joe Versus the Volcano, but he felt he was the best person to adapt his own play from the stage to the screen and I am forced to agree with him. While Doubt plays out with heavy focus on the actors as a stage play might, he infused a wonderful balance of atmosphere and was able to add some character moments that would have been too small to capture on the stage. I wanted to praise the director for just a moment because his contributions were overshadowed by the acting tour de force from the four headed monster of Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis.

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The plot of the film centers on a small Catholic Church/School where two nuns suspect that the Parish Priest may have had a questionable relationship with one of the students. I shouldn’t tell you any more than that, although even if I told you a complete play-by-play of the film it would still be a revelation to watch it performed by master actors. Like many powerful films it is hard to envision the roles cast differently, or more to the point I don’t think many actors could stand toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep with this material and not be outplayed. In truth, I think Philip Seymour Hoffman impressed me most although it is certainly up for debate. The ending of the film is controversial and ripe for discussion so I encourage anyone checking out the film not to watch it alone or you’ll miss out on the best part.

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The features are short but sweet and cover the whole filmmaking process from its stage adaptation to its film score. You also get a featurette about the real Nuns who worked at the parish the film centers on which provides some interesting back story to the time in which it was set. And as an unabashed Commentary apologist I was glad to see John Patrick Shanley step into the booth and record an insightful commentary.

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Special Features
Doubt: From Stage to Screen
Scoring Doubt
The Cast of Doubt
The Sisters of Charity
Feature Commentary from Writer/Director John Patrick Shanley