Doubt is a movie of intensity, probing and challenging and ultimately satisfying in the ambiguity of its conclusion. All of the of the major actors -- Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis -- give brilliant performances and the imagery -- the various forms of light and darkness, the gray skies and blowing leaves, the endless opening and closing of windows and doors -- while a little heavy-handed at times, creates a sense of seamlessness that both oppresses and frees.
If you haven't seen the movie, I won't spoil it except to say that its rendition of 1964 Bronx Catholicism seems to me right on target, and that its exploration of the priest sex abuse scandal weaves numerous subtleties into a storyline that might otherwise have been handled with a sledge hammer.
I went to see it last night with Gregarious Son and Lovely Daughter and, if the passionate conversations overheard in the hallway and restrooms afterward and carried right on through our late night dinner are any indication, the movie resonates with all kinds of people in all kinds of ways.
After the three of us finished, at least for the evening, debating the possible angles of reality behind each of the characters, we moved on to that all-encompassing question of faith and doubt. For me, faith has always been twin sister to doubt , and I wondered what the kids thought of some of the discussions I have been part of recently. In a nutshell, I am in a pastoral care class where the professor insists that parishoners count on knowing that their priest or pastor is a woman or man of certainty, and I am in a reality in which I feel battered and insulted every time someone attempts to foist his or certainty on me.
My children, who are certain in their unbelief and sure of the role of faith, tell me that most people believe in God because they need explanations, and that my capacity for existential angst puts me in a distinct minority. I prefer to think that people veer toward mystery to whatever extent they are able on any given day, and that my inclinations are more toward integrity than angst. But then, I have been wrong about many things in my life.
I am going to go and see Doubt again as soon as possible.