7.51 h 44 min2008X-RayPG-13
HD. A Catholic school principal (Meryl Streep) suspects a popular parish priest of having an inappropriate relationship with a young boy.
John Patrick Shanley
Meryl StreepPhilip Seymour HoffmanAmy Adams
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Viola Davis
Scott Rudin
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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4.6 out of 5 stars

2031 global ratings

  1. 76% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Bob YoungReviewed in the United States on September 26, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very fine acting and the story in compelling. Actually, marvelous, and worth the time.
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I was Catholic at the time period of this film. I was a victim of child molestation (first degree). I went to school at the catholic school on the property of the church. The convent was just a few feet away from one of the school's main double doors. I had nuns as teachers. One of the nuns conspired with this priest, my perpetrator, to make me available to this priest that was a monster. A few corrections as to the movie. No nun was anything like Meryl Streep. Most certainly not the principal. My guess is that no Liturgist or actual priest pitched in on this movie. The Altar is facing out and toward the people. Until 1965 - 66 the Altar's faced the back wall. All of them. Every Mass was in Latin. No African American child would have been within miles of the campus. Never mind going to school with the kids. I lived near the Church/school/convent campus. Four houses away. The neighborhood was working-class Italian/Irish. We kids looked just like the ones in this movie. Even the dance class. I wish to hell I had a lookout such as Streep's character to help me avoid further abuse. Streep is one of the best actresses I've ever seen. She shines in this flick. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, though he's passed on, also was at the top of his form. The fact that he was made a Pastor at his next assignment doesn't quite fit. Seems like a New England setting. My school was in New England. Winter is rolling in. Streep is the only one on the cast to master the accent. Boston, I'd say. I believe Hoffman's character did it. But, I have an ax to grind you might say. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Other than the inauthenticity of the sets and placements it was a fine movie. Highly recommended. Btw, I am still a Catholic. Believe it or not.
19 people found this helpful
GJJReviewed in the United States on July 14, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
I'm certain of one thing: it's a hit!
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This is a difficult film that deals with a topic also handled by the terrific film, "Spotlight," though from a totally different point of view. It features impeccable acting by the ever-believable Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the apparent Mother Superior in a convent of teaching nuns. Her young protege, Sister James, played by the ever-engaging Amy Adams, offers her senior a touch of optimism regarding the possibility that Father Brendan Flynn, portrayed by the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman, is innocent of guilt by innuendo with respect to his friendship/mentoring of a young African-American student, Donald Miller, played by Joseph Foster II. The gritty Bronx, NY, locations offer a dark backdrop to the proceedings. As a person reared in the Catholic Church, befriended by always-chaste priests as an altar boy, I have always been puzzled by the many headlines about molestation by the clergy, although I have no doubts that it has occurred. This film treats the subject in a very reasonable way, without trying to make it prurient or sensational. It's a "little" film, in my opinion, about a huge topic, handled with the appropriate amount of uncertainty.
18 people found this helpful
Sony_XLReviewed in the United States on November 1, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
It's open to many interpretations..
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ohn Patrick Shanley has turned his prize-winning stage drama into a cinema version that is richly flavored and expands slightly on his theme of power, corruption and moral authority in a Catholic Church during the 1960s. At the heart of the tale is a progressive-minded priest (PHILIP SEYMOUR Hoffman) who is viewed as highly suspect by a tyrannical nun (MERYL STREEP) who personifies all that was wrong with the strict nuns who thought that harsh discipline and humiliation was the way to rule the school classroom. The old vs. the new is what happens when these two clash.

Very unlike what happened when Hollywood first tackled the subject of old vs. new in films like GOING MY WAY and THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S where a young priest has to cope with the unchanging steel will of a crusty old parish priest.

Here the subject matter is much more serious too, involving the suspicions of a nun eager to seize on any reason for ridding the parish of Father Flynn whom she accuses of an immoral act with a young altar boy in his charge, based on very flimsy evidence of another naive young Sister James (AMY ADAMS).

The story becomes a character study of these three as they confront the issues raised by the domineering Sister Aloysius (Streep) who insists on a private meeting with Flynn in which the accusations fly fast and furious. This scene is super-charged with emotion and dramatically effective--but even more striking fireworks are yet to come when we meet the mother of the boy (VIOLA DAVIS) who is brilliant in her two big scenes with Streep during which another twist is given to the tale.

To tell any more would be to spoil this for anyone not familiar with the material. Clearly, Shanley has written a very powerful drama and staged it with simplicity and truth in a way that is cinematic without losing any of its dramatic force as a play.

For the performances alone, highly recommended as a thinking man's morality play that never quite gives you the feeling that you know all the answers to the riddle presented. It's open to many interpretations, but there's no doubt about one thing--this is a very fine drama.
29 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on September 9, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Powerful and compelling story that plays upon 2 stereotypes of Catholic nuns and priests
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Doubt is a powerful movie playing upon two stereotypes. One is of the evil old nun who terrorized kids at Catholic school. The other is of the pedophile Catholic priest. The story features Meryl Streep as the principal of a Catholic school who accuses Philip Seymour Hoffman a priest of having an improper relationship with Joseph Foster the only black child at the school. This is one of Streep’s standout performances. She plays the controlling personality to a T. Hoffman cares for Foster because he knows the pain he is going through. It provides a stark dichotomy in the film and also sows doubt about who is telling the truth and who is not. It’s a very powerful and compelling story.
2 people found this helpful
SundayAtDuskReviewed in the United States on October 25, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
The Only Nun Out To Protect A Child Is Vilified . . . .
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This was such a sad waste of a fun nun movie--the kid with the radio, the children learning how to do the Bossa Nova, etc. It would have been the best comedy/drama about a Catholic school in the '60s being run by a super strict nun, if only it wasn't focused on a pervert priest. A pervert he was! Not only that, but the mother of a student hands her son over to the priest to be sexually abused by him, claiming it would "save his life". (Yes, just disregard all the statistics about how sexually abused children often eventually kill themselves one way or another. Just disregard all the heartbreaking personal stories told by those victimized by priests.) The thinking behind this apparently was the kid was born gay, and straight standards should not be used for gay kids. Yes, it's okay to sexually abuse them and call it love!

They even gave Viola Davis, the actress who played the mother, an Academy Award. No surprise there, considering there is no shortage of those in the movie business who love the idea of being able to sexually abuse children and getting away with it. If you watch an extras interview, included with the DVD, you will also hear all the actors from the movie vilifying the nun who was trying to keep the priest from preying on boys, worshipping the mother who fed her son to the priest, and praising the sweet, "naïve" nun who turned a blind eye to it all. Even Meryl Streep would not stick up for her character. After watching that, any fan feelings I had for Meryl Streep and Viola Davis went right down the drain . . . which is where this movie should have gone.
Robert HayesReviewed in the United States on July 28, 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
The winds they are a-changing, and they come sowing the seeds of doubt
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If there ever was a film to make you think seriously about your beliefs, this is the one. DOUBT is a powerhouse of acting talent that tackles issues of faith, certainty and truth head on, and holds the audience responsible for drawing their own conclusions. The story takes place in 1964, at a Catholic school run by Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep): a firm disciplinarian who is very conservative and quick to make judgments based on little to no evidence other than her suspicions. Philip Seymour Hoffman is Father Flynn, who is new to the parish and is more progressive, open-minded and more embracing of life's uncertainties. Amy Adams is Sister James, a young nun who caught between these two people. The catalyst for the plot is the suspicion that Father Flynn may or may not have been improper with the school's only black student. From this comes a battle of wits between Sister Aloysius and Father Flynn, as she accuses the Father of impropriety based on little evidence, and the Father using the ambiguity to his advantage. Despite being dialogue-driven, this is very riveting material and I hung on every word that came out of these thespians' mouths. I also like the way in which things are kept ambiguous, because in real life answers are often hard to come by and sometimes we make decisions based on gut feelings or premonitions, rather than concrete evidence. The film also puts front and center the crisis of faith, and whether or not it is rational (or right) to make heavy decisions based on faith alone. Is doubt permissible in religion, or in a system where one normally takes things on authority? The film raises all of these questions and more, even touching on what has become a well-publicized scandal in the Catholic church: that of sex abuse and pedophilia in the priesthood (although it is only addressed rather obliquely, given the PG-13 rating). Bottom line, if you like to think after watching a movie, and not have it think for you, then this should be right up your alley. Awards-caliber performances and an incredible script make this a must-see.
16 people found this helpful
JoannReviewed in the United States on March 16, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Acting is suburb!
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However, the plot just so-so. I kept expecting things to start rolling along but it seemed as if every scene was just that, a scene. Somewhat disjointed. The scenery and period that the movie takes place was very accurate, coming from someone that attended Catholic school in a NY borough in the 60's.
The ending left a lot to be desired.
Every actor was excellent in their roles! There was great acting on all of the actors parts, especially the bigger names, which is an understatement.
The movie was from a play, a screenplay, so that explains why the entire movie was just so-so. Glad I bought it but will not be watching it again.
One person found this helpful
Smart ShopperReviewed in the United States on September 1, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Academy Award Worthy Performances From All.
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Some see this movies as a metaphor for the conflict between Traditionalism and Modernism, blah blah blah blah. This is a movie for movie lovers who appreciate the craft of acting. Every single actor put in a riveting performance. Steep is not my favorite actor but she was just brilliant, as well as Davis. Worth seeing again. The movie raises the issue of whether it is ok to condemn someone on the basis of ones "gut feeling, " in the absence of concrete evidence. The ending I think was very contrived as the nun's "doubt" was not consistent with her character and there was no reason was shown for her sudden change of heart. Just didn't make any sense.
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