Doubt Overcomes Misgivings

Top-notch performances make prize-winning play work as a movie
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 25, 2008 9:00 AM CST

(Newser) Doubt erases any qualms over whether the claustrophobic, Pulitzer Prize-winning play would work on the big screen, say critics. A "frighteningly good" Meryl Streep stars as the hardline principal of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964, Lou Lumenick writes in the New York Post. A game of cat-and-mouse begins when Streep's nun suspects a priest, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, of molesting the school's first African-American student.

The near-perfect cast helps make Doubt's exploration of the gray areas of church sex scandals "deeply disturbing on several levels," Roger Moore writes in the Orlando Sentinel. The adaptation isn't seamless, Moira Macdonald writes in the Seattle Times, with the play's stark simplicity having become a bit cluttered, but it easy to ignore the extras and be blown away by the forceful performances.