Amazon Holiday

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A nun (Meryl Streep) tries to take down a priest (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who she believes has seduced one of the children.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Joseph Foster

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. While they manage to avoid making any outrightly disparaging remarks about sex and the clergy, by keeping the battle between two of its committed members (a priest and a nun), the ultimate conclusion that the story comes to feels more intellectual than emotional, and for that, the movie ends up feeling less important than it should.  On the other hand, for those interested in an exercise in thinking, rather than feeling, you may have fodder, as many of the sermons are interesting, and the clergy makes for a perfect setting within which to explore themes of faith versus doubt.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: This movie is so totally devoid of humor that it's hard to believe it comes from the writer of Moonstruck and the producer of Clueless.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: It's too heady to incite those emotions, but when Viola Davis cries her nose runs and she licks it up. Eiw. Was there no one on set to give this woman a tissue?!

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: All Meryl Streep has to do to get an Academy Award nomination is be in a movie. But if she has to get one this year, it would be more original to see her get it for Mamma Mia!

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Watching such pros as Streep and Hoffman battle it out in scene after scene is a true pleasure to anyone who appreciates fine acting. Their performances, as well as Amy Adams'-- who's always delightful--, are the number one reason to see this film.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Shanley opens it up a little from the staged version, but it still feels like a play. That said, if you like theater, you will probably like this play. On the other hand, any good theater aficionado should have already seen it.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: When I was an acting student at UCLA, I remember always wanting to do scenes from such John Patrick Shanley plays as Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Women of Manhattan. I also remember then sitting down to read the entirety of his plays and never finding them to be as  moving as the individual scenes within them. That is also true of this movie, where there is a plethora of highly intense, dramatic, and well thought-out scenes interwoven into a story that amounts to not very much.  

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: Before seeing this movie, I had never stopped to think about how severely sexism is woven into the church. In the hierarchy, Mother Superior is the highest ranking for a woman, which is below Priest-- the lowest ranking for a man. How can women ever gain equality in a world where the primary religion suppresses their rights to it completely? I'm just saying.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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Anonymous said...

Saw it a screening. There were lots of laughs. I think you're kind of missing the point of the film. It's a political parable and the nun is George Bush -- absolutely convinced without evidence of the truth of what she believes and willing to upend everything in the service of that certitude. Film played like crazy with the audience I saw, and I don't think the reaction was unemotional.

Monique Elisabeth said...

Sorry for the delayed response, I just realized this comment was here...

I appreciate your comment, and I certainly think there is a contingent of audience that will enjoy this film.

But I respectively disagree about the political parable analysis. I think the topic is charged enough, in and of itself, without having to be an analogy or representation of something else. There are a lot of people who think like W. when it comes to seeing things in black and white, and being driven by their convictions. Just because he's in office doing that now, doesn't mean that other representations of that personality trait are always meant to represent him.

If that helps your enjoyment of the film, I've got no qualms about it. But I don't think it's the author's intention. It think he's simply analysing that conviction as a driving force versus Doubt.

Valkyrie is another film in which the main character's conviction set a plot into motion that up roots the German army on an even bigger scale.