This movie is about Nuns who suspect a Father of child molestation.  They believe that he is having in an inappropriate relationship with the black boy at their school.  They find evidence of this, the speak to the boys mother, and they even confront the priest in question.  The evidence is circumstantial at best.  The mother doesn’t seem to care.  And the priest denies the accusation.  But they fight for what they believe and in the end the priest leaves the school and is transferred to another.  But by then the Nuns are so filled with this situation that they cannot see Truth or trust anything but their own opinion.  One Nun discontinues the hunt and the other wonders.

This is one of Meryl Streep’s greatest roles ever!  She was amazing as the Principal and Head Nun of the Catholic school.  I was intimidated and a bit afraid of her character (just as the students of her school were).  Amy Adams was a brilliant Nun school teacher who is the second to suspect the priest.  She eventually is spoken to by the priest and convinced of his innocence.  She, too, is intimidated by Streep’s character but eventually learns to stand up for herself.  Adams somehow toed the line of mousy shyness and bad ass conviction with a believability and strength that is lost on many actresses today.  Kudos Miss Adams!  Every time I see her in a movie she gets better.  Phillip Seymour Hoffman played the Father-in-question.  He almost became the reason I didn’t see this wonderful film – I don’t like him as an actor (or much as a man).  And his character was creepy and hard to watch or trust much of the movie.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say he was brilliant, but he was good.  He made you wonder because he acted one way that was unsettling but spoke with strength of heart against the accusations against him.  Viola Davis rounded out the great cast as the mother of the boy who was the suspected victim of the priest.  As a black woman with a son in a white catholic school in the early 60s, she was strong yet run hard, confident yet unsure, and beautifully lovely yet harshly realistic.  Davis was phenomenal in the role and even though her character was in only a few minutes of the movie, she was nominated for an Oscar for the role.  She broke my heart with her idea that if her son was being protected by the priest then it was worth it if he was also being victimized by him – after all, it was only until the spring when her son would change schools.  Ugg – GREAT SCENE!

The cinematography was something different that I don’t believe I’d seen attempted before.  It was almost as if the movie were in black and white.  The lack of color during the Bronx winter, the black robes of the Nuns and priest, the dark coats of the students all played into this concept of desolation and chill.  There was very little music in the movie, even less laughter, and only a singular handful of smiles; all of which deepened the isolation and harshness of the situation and movie.  It was like a beautifully choreographed piece of dance that made you cry even though there was no need.

The best part, for me, was that you never know for sure who is right and who is wrong in this movie.  And it makes you take stock in what you doubt and don’t.  Love it!

Rating: * * * *


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