Yes it stars the Diva of Drama, Meryl Streep. Yes it also stars the highly praised Philip Seymour Hoffman. But no that wonâ€™t keep you from regretting that you sacrificed $7 and two hours of your life on this bow-wow! Doubt is a soporific study in the vanity of one playwright who somehow talked Oscar-winners into putting on unattractive costumes and fretting around in a play so obvious and stilted that no MFA student would own it.
Doubt is thirty years too late, and 40 IQ points too dumb. The â€œissuesâ€ with which it grapples (I use the term loosely) have been dealt with already! A priest who may or may not have done something with an altar boy, a nun who vaguely suspects something, and another mega-nun (Streep) who is willing to bet that â€œsomethingâ€ really happened. Okay, itâ€™s not exactly a fresh plot line but given the star power, we sort of expected something from this drab, boring exercise in â€œitâ€™s my screenplay and Iâ€™m gonna direct it myself, dammit!â€
To watch the usually complex instincts of Hoffman reduced to red-faced yelling (thatâ€™s how he conveys his righteous indignation). To see the Ã¼ber actress Streep reduced to an accent that veers between Brooklyn and Nantucket, while wearing a black bonnet and wringing her hands â€“ is to wish one had gone to the close-out sales at Circuit City instead.
Now toss in a few amateurish diagonal camera angles, and some thunder and lightening (thatâ€™s to help the clueless filmmakers telegraph psychological torment), and youâ€™ve got the stuff of a failing grade at any film school currently in operation.
God, I was disappointed. No doubt about it.