Friday, February 13, 2009

I Have No Doubts About This One

Thanks to the wonders of my season ticket I got into the sold-out opening film of the Dublin Film Festival last night - the Oscar-baiting Doubt. It was all very entertaining from the moment a composed but slightly nervous Grainne Humphreys got up to introduce the JDIFF line-up 2009. Two French guys spoke after - a well-dressed man called Alexandre from Pernod Ricard on behalf of Jameson who made a funny but very cheesy speech peppered with references to the whiskey in question. Then Thierry Fremaux from the Cannes Film Festival, who was charming and just slightly patronising (he kept calling JDIFF a "leedle festival". I mean, it is small, but come on!).

So what about the film? Well I can see why virtually the whole cast is up for an Academy Award. There are brilliant performances all over the place as Meryl Streep plays a monstrous nun in charge of a 1960's Bronx school who clashes with progressive priest Philip Seymour Hoffman. Streep's character Sister Aloysius suspects that Hoffman's Father Flynn has been making advances on the school's only black pupil, Donald Miller. But has he? Or is Aloysius simply seizing the opportunity to destroy her hated rival? The young and innocent Sister James (Amy Adams) is dragged into the middle of their battle, as is the pupil's mother (Viola Davis, who is outstanding in a very small role).

To say any more would be to ruin this duplicitous treat, which is the kind of film that stays with you and leaves you wondering for days after about apparently throwaway details. John Patrick Shanley has done a great job of adapting his own hit play - unlike many plays-turned-movies the scenes never feel stagey. Keep a close eye on all the action - and enjoy!

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