I was really let down by this film. Anyone else? I did not find Philip Seymour Hoffman to be great. Nor was Meryl Streep. PSH was much much better in Capote. I usally love Streep. But i found them both flat and uninteresting.
Viola Davis on the other hand was worthy of all her praise.
I thought everyone in it was superb, and that the movie was highly charged and dramatic throughout, including Amy Adams. I didn’t find it stage-bound, as some reviewers did, either. I especially liked the last line, too, of Streep’s — “I have such doubts” — because you could interpret it in a number of different ways: doubts about herself? her soul? her faith? the moderate drift of the church?, etc. That line signalled the whole fearful spirit of people who are facing a sudden change.
I really enjoyed the film, although I did not find it quite as compelling as I thought I would. Streep and Hoffman were their excellent as expected, and Adams fit her role perfectly as the ‘innocent’ schoolteacher. In found just about every aspect of the film to be great, except for the ending. I think the idea was right, but in my opinion Streep’s confession and coming to terms with the dynamics of her actions, as well the process of realizing these, should have been elaborated upon. The final scene was simple too brief for my liking, as I found myself saying “Is that really the culmination of the film?” I have no problem with John Patrick Shanley leaving the issue (whether Hoffman did molest the child or not) ambiguous, as I actually believe it strengthens the film and the audience’s perception of it when they leave the theatre. I believe this is one of those films that will only get stronger and stronger with each additional viewing. In conclusion, I thought it was a very good film, with the only main flaw being that the storyline could have been expanded a bit more.
I think it’s probably one of the better films of 2008.
Acting was spectacular, but Hoffman was better in Capote (kinda hard to top that…).
I thought the film was interesting and thought provoking, but I felt that it was very clunky in its metaphors and some of its cinematography. I really disliked the constant use of off-kilter framing used which might have been good in The Twilight Zone but felt really out of place here. The constant use of rain to enhance the drama also seemed unnecessary and the final line of the movie was very theatrical and out of place. I read some of the reviews prior to seeing it so I might have been unduly influenced by them, but some of these gripes really did take away from the film for me anyway. I still felt like it was worth seeing and while Hoffman might not have been as good as in the past he still did a very solid job. Streep was good as well but I did feel like her performance was a bit overplayed as compared to the other actors. Either way, it had me thinking as I left theater and thats always a good thing.
Want to see this movie :)
Actingwise, I thought each individual performance was spectacular. The plot is great and the dialogue is well-written, but the playwright is known for his scathing but simple language. Overall the film, full of it’s blatant metaphors and symbols, was just okay. Nothing stood out in my mind. Just a group of great actors doing what they do.
It was one of my favorite films of 2008. The acting, dialogue, art direction and almost every other aspect of the film was superb. I also thought John Patrick Shanley had a really tight grip on the film, although a lot of critics didn’t agree with me.
AMEN. i thought i was th eonly person to be let down. I found it to be flat. PSH and Streep in in no way gave the best.
Streep and Adams were fantastic and Hoffman was pretty good. I agree that the movie, overall, was kind of flat and not very exciting. it needed to be darker and possibly less funny. i am sure this story works alot better on stage.
A good old-fashioned played-to-the-hilt melodrama withteriffic performances by all, but Shanley doesn’t get anywhere near the REAL Catholic Church pedophile scandals. There is no doubt about them whatsoever, and the details would curl your hair and sicken your stomach.
The Catholic church is the world’s largest, wealthiest, best organized and most ruthless pedophole cult the world has ever known.
But the play isn’t about the Catholic Church Pedophile Scandal.
It’s about DOUBT! You can’t be sure if the priest was a pedophile or not! Because you can never be sure of anything! Get it? DOUBT! There’s always DOUBT!!
Gimme my Pulitzer.
Yeah, yeah and THE CHILDREN’S HOUR isn’t about Lesbianism; it’s about a lie.
Right, like OTHELLO isn’t about the white chick married to the black guy, it’s about jealousy.
Saw it just the other night. Fantastic film! Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman sizzled on screen. It left me wondering who in the hell I should be rooting for. Though overplayed, I liked the metaphors of wind and electricity symbolizing Streep’s character being the center of the “storm.” Don’t understand why Viola Davis got so much hype, being that her role in the film lasted all of five minutes.
Viola Davis was the best part about the somewhat lackluster film. It’s not the amount of time you’re on screen, it’s what you do with that time (see: Orson Welles in The Third Man). She was the film. She is the only character to feel like an actual human being, and is the singlular reason I would see the film again. Every other character in the film gave a hammy performance and felt like they were just pushing me to this predictable ending.
Not to say the film was bad. It was actually one of the better big Hollywood oscar films. Certainly better than Revolutionary Road, The Reader, Benjamin Button and the other yearly oscar drek.
Definitely one of the more disappointing films of 2008. None of the performances really stood out (Viola Davis’ 5 minutes on-screen enough wasn’t nearly enough to wow me), the direction was bland to say the least (perhaps Shanley should stick to writing), and even the incredible Roger Deakins couldn’t manage to give the film some visual flair. All-in-all, I would label this film as a failure in nearly every aspect minus writing (although I realize I’m quite outspoken on that point).
I do agree that Davis’ performance was exemplary, but I also felt Streep’s was every bit as exemplary, not so much Hoffman’s. I thought the film was rather thought-provoking. Being the film was set in a parochial school and the atmosphere intended was bleakness, I don’t think conjuring up “visual flair,” aside from the wind and feathers, would have been the primary aim. I’m not sure what one’s criteria in this forum is anymore for a “good performance.”
I believe I said why I thought she gave a good performance. My criteria for a good performance is understated, and realistic. Almost no one in this film fit that definition. They were all just instruments with no depth of character. They were types. The liberal father, and sister. The conservative nun. The gay outcast student. As I said before Viola was the only one who was seemed like an actual person.
Still don’t know what your definition of a “realistic” character is. Streep’s performance was peppered with subtle hints as to the type of person she is: Traditional and repressed with a longing to keep things as they are and, preferrably, to return things to the way they were. Her years have made her cynical and untrusting, and she sees in Hoffman’s character change and progression she doesn’t want. She’s envious of that and feels she’s losing control of her school to him. Her gripes about students using pens, poor penmanship and other such nuances, I feel, aptly defined her character. But hey, some people feel that’s not enough and is just an archetype. I guess I can understand, I just disagree.
Everything in the film is being thrown in my face. OK, I get it she dislikes the modern times and a man with long fingernails is everything she hates. She likes the way things used to be, fine, whatever. There’s not a single real subtlety in the film, every metaphor, and character idiosyncrasy (if that’s want you want to call it, if not use whatever word you would) is so obvious as to be almost ridiculous.
OK. It’s an absolutely ridiculous film. All the characters are one dimensional, and there was absolutely nothing real about the film at all. It was a real piece of contrived dogshit. Viola Davis was the only redeeming quality with her whopping five-minute portrayal of the helpless victim with no control over her situation and the plight of her son. Places like this and characters like this just don’t resonate at all with the likes of a real film buff. OK OK OK. I DOUBT anyone would like this film who knows their ass from a hole in the ground. DOUBT was the worst film of 2008, right up there with Slumdog, Let the Right One In and Frozen River. Damn, I keep getting this movie thrown back in my face.
I didn’t say it was a bad film. In fact, I said it was better than those films like Benjamin, Slumdog, Reader, etc… I will state it again, it was one of the better “oscar-bait” films of the year. I also never said I was a “real film buff.” I simply gave you an opinion that you essentially asked for. If you didn’t want to hear it you don’t need to say things like, “I’m not sure what one’s criteria in this forum is anymore for a ‘good performance.’”
I gave you an opinion that you don’t need to agree with, I really don’t care. But if you don’t want to sound like an asshole you shouldn’t ask for things and then complain when you get them.
I don’t consider every film nominated “oscar-bait,” either. Normally there are set criteria for that, too.
OK. It’s just that I so often hear in these forums criticisms about one-dimensional characters or archetypes, but there’s not much elaboration. I’m not complaining when I try to explain why I feel otherwise, as I did here. I wasn’t trying to “throw it back in your face,” just pushing for some more give and take is all. If that makes me sound like an asshole, so be it, but it’s not the intent.
yeah, acting was good. Movie was bad. I guess my irks had to do with the fact that the basis for the story was not only left unresolved, but that……….blah. I don’t care.
I think I explained why the characters were one-dimensional, or at the very least I explained that the little “subtle hints,” weren’t at all subtle. I’ll try again. Everything in the film was obvious… All the plot points, all the metaphors, all the character quirks. I saw all of it coming. That’s not a bad thing, though, I see almost all of the metaphors (if they even have any), and plot points in all Hollywood films. I expect it.
It was a decent film, but predictable.
Hey Col. Dax! Left you a message in the other thread about your reference to Rx Bandits.