December 31, 2008

A few scattered thoughts on the movie "Doubt."

1. For a movie full of nuns and priests, there was damned little religion in it. There were references to "mortal sin," and Bibles and crosses were displayed, but I don't think anyone ever mentioned God or Jesus. In church, at Christmas, the priest was saying "Happy Holidays." Now that was part of his character. He also wanted the Catholic school kids to sing some secular Christmas songs. The head nun had a big problem with that, but somehow managed to voice her disapproval without talking religion.

2. Unfortunately, having fought insomnia all last night, I kept slipping into little naps. Maybe it was all God, Jesus, and Mary when I was snoozing, but I think not.

3. Booger acting. I know many actors go for the tears-streaming-streaming-down face or the single tear welling up and finally dripping slowly down the cheek, but tears are the most pleasant of the bodily fluids. In "Doubt," one character goes for many long minutes with mucus flowing from her nostrils, even taking the path across the lips and into the mouth. It's kind of distracting! Not since "Blair Witch Project" have we seen such booger acting.

4. I kept trying to picture how the play was staged. Now, I've looked it up. From Ben Brantley's 2004 review: "The play unfolds mostly as a series of dialogues, punctuated by two monologues - sermons delivered by Father Flynn to his congregation on the subjects of doubt and gossip." That sounds better than the movie.

5. It wasn't bad. It had a tight script and some nice Streepage.

6. "I don't have an organized religious thing, but I have love in my life."

7. I'm seeing all the well-reviewed year-end movies, and there's an awful lot of wrong-age sex. "Doubt" is about a priest accused of molesting children. "Benjamin Button," with its backwards aging character, had scenes of an old man in love with a young girl and an old woman in love with a toddler. "The Reader" had a 36-year-old woman seducing a 15-year-old boy. "Milk" had a man in his 40s pursuing relationships with much younger (and more fragile) men. "Slumdog Millionaire" shows a young teenage girl being sold for sex. I say that Hollywood is delivering pedophiliac titillation with the deniability of artistic pretension.

8. "Doubt" works as a law movie. There are no lawyers or trials, but the subject of evidence is well-explored. There's an especially good illustration of the way a lie can be used to produce a reaction that constitutes relevant evidence.

9. We had a long discussion of the meaning of the little magnetic dancing ballerina the priest gives the boy.

ADDED: John Podhoretz gets it exactly right. Slightly spoilerish Excerpt"
[Writer-director John Patrick] Shanley's certitude about the lack of certitude in his play demonstrates why it was a mistake to put him at the helm of the movie version, since it proves he is an even worse interpreter of his own work than he is a director of it....

Doubt works not because the story is ambiguous, but because it is not ambiguous. It is, rather, a potent and unforgettable account of systemic injustice.
Podhoretz, like me, is not buying the bogus profundity of snot: "Viola Davis... may win an Oscar for best supporting actress largely because she goes without a tissue for a few minutes."

61 comments:

Ron said...

I say that Hollywood is delivering pedophiliac titillation with the deniability of artistic pretension.

pedophiliac titillation is just this years New Coke; if anything really catches on, they'll make Lolita into a saturday morning cartoon! If not, onto the next thing! Torture Porn? Been there! Dancing Nun Movies? TV show Movies? Ben Stiller? Whatever may stick against the wall, they throw...

Simon said...

I'm still not clear on a point from the discussion of the Winslet movie last week, and perhaps this is the opportunity to revisit it. As I understood some comments there, some argued that the kind of relationship engaged in between Winslet's character and the younger character is per se harmful - that quite aside from matters of positive law, that such relationships not only tend to be, or will usually be, but are, per se - that is, must - be harmful. That seems oversold to me; could some of those contributing there clarify the point? I understand the per se rule when it comes to older men and younger girls, but not vice versa.

ricpic said...

To me, one of the great inexplicable mysteries of the universe is what anyone sees in Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Another great mystery of the universe, since Ron mentioned him: Ben Stiller.

But maybe it's just me. Another failure to appreciate.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon, I keep meaning to do a post on "The Reader" now that I've seen it. I may see it again before posting, because I have a lot to say about it.

ricpic said...

Lolita, the original one with James Mason, was about much more than titillation. The scene toward the end where Mason breaks down is about love. Mangled love maybe, but what love isn't? Kubrick, I believe. A great film.

save_the_rustbelt said...

"I say that Hollywood is delivering pedophiliac titillation with the deniability of artistic pretension."

Which is why I keep my money in my pocket instead of going to trendy movies.

Synova said...

I say that Hollywood is delivering pedophiliac titillation with the deniability of artistic pretension.

Ha. It appears everyone else is focusing on the same quote.

But really... isn't this what art has always been? Excuses for titillation? What do you suppose the classic statues of David or all the Greek stuff was? Or the classic painters who painted lewd gods, naked in gardens of delight?

Literature is similar, isn't it?

And the proles, the prudes, all of those who complain because they are uptight... well, they just don't understand culture enough to understand "art".

Simon said...

Synova said...
"What do you suppose the classic statues of David or all the Greek stuff was?"

I don't think that the goal of David was to titillate!

Ann Althouse said...

ricpic: "Lolita, the original one with James Mason, was about much more than titillation. The scene toward the end where Mason breaks down is about love. Mangled love maybe, but what love isn't? Kubrick, I believe. A great film."

Yes, the thing that made me break down and cry was my own statement "He really loved her."

Synova said...

The statue, right Simon?

What's not titillating about it? I mean, sure, it's not a big deal... he's just standing there... butt naked.

Do you really think that David did not wear clothes?

Simon said...

Synova, I'm no connoiseur of the male form - not much of a fan of it, truth be told - but one can't but note that David appears to be suffering from... How can I put this delicately... A little too much shrinkage... Without having been in "the pool"... to be intended for titillation.

I mean, I know that there are those who say it doesn't matter, but the poor fellow just doesn't seem proportionately endowed.

Synova said...

LOL.

Okay. I'll give you that.

Maybe he was intended to encourage men to feel well endowed.

rcocean said...

Humbert Humbert was a rather unreliable narrator. Did he love her or just say so?

blake said...

The microphallus was in imitation of a Greek style, where a large penis was considered...immodest?

Or so I'm told.

Simon said...

Blake, that's what happens when you put a bunch of dudes in charge of artistic standards. ;)

amba said...

TCM just played a Marx Brothers clip. Harpo is asleep in a drawer in the bottom of a trunk (is this the famous scene in the stateroom?) and Groucho says, "Don't wake him up. He has insomnia, and he's trying to sleep it off." I was looking for an insomniac to tell that to. Thanks, Ann!

MadisonMan said...

where a large penis was considered...immodest?

Or was it thought...wisible by the common soldiewy?

blake said...

Stop it, MM! I will not have my friend widiculed by the common soldiewy.

William said...

Only elderly Carmelite nuns would agree with your statement that tears are the most pleasant bodily fluids.....I think artists need to flirt with the most forbidden forms of behavior. Homosexuality and incest have lost their zing. Hamlet can give his mother or Laertes an open mouth kiss, and no one's jaw will drop. But let Ophelia be played by a pretty 12 year old, and the world will be outraged. And that would please the director, the critics, the cast no end. I'm not in favor of artistic pedophilia but, in the long run, it's probably preferable to hagiographic movies about Che Guevara.

Pogo said...

How brave! It has crossed such barriers!
* females daring to combat male authority
* exposing religious hypocrites
* revealing how priests prey on young boys

A transgressive masterpiece.
I await their opus on Muhammed sleeping with young girls.

somefeller said...

Doubt was a great play, but I haven't seen the movie yet because the reviews I've seen make it sound like Meryl Streep's character is portrayed as a bit of a caricature. One of the things that made the play work so well was the fact that the conservative, pre-Vatican II type nun was not portrayed as a villain, but as a sympathetic character locked in a struggle with the liberal priest (who would be the automatic hero in many other works) over an uncertain set of facts. A ham-handed portrayal would have set her up as some sort of oppressive church lady character who meets her comeuppance in the end, and that certainly wasn't how things played out in the theatrical version. Not sure if I want to see this one, if it goes in a different direction. The play was a great work, particularly if you grew up in a Catholic background and could visualize these characters easily.

A transgressive masterpiece.
I await their opus on Muhammed sleeping with young girls.


Pogo, you really are a bore. Do you ever stop riding your hobbyhorses?

Pogo said...

When media liberals stop riding their own, I do, so no, not very often.

Pogo said...

Seriously, somefeller, how can it be that there is another anti-Catholic movie out? Hasn't this dead horse been beaten flat already?

Christ almighty, it's like Hitler for the History channel, it's raison d'être.

Robert Cook said...

I saw DOUBT, the movie, not having seen the play, (though my movie companion had seen the play). I enjoyed the movie, and I am amazed at some reviewers who declare that Streep's performance is over the top or seems to be coming from a whole other movie than the one the other actors are in...Streep is wonderful. Her character comes off initially as forbidding, a suspicious and autocratic scold, and she actually is that, but there is more to her than that. Streep's grace notes humanize her character, and we see that she needs her moral certainty. She accuses another character of wanting things to be simple so she doesn't have to worry about them, (I'm paraphrasing); in her certainty, we see that Streep's character wants no less for complex human affairs to be clear cut, black and white...simple. This frees her from the anxiety of ambiguity, allows her to avoid the moral quandaries wrought by real world human behavior and psychology.

The movie is not about god or religion...as Shanley himself has said, it's a political story, a response to current world affairs. "Doubt has gotten a bad reputation. People who are utterly certain are vulnerable to a brand of foolishness that people who maintain a level of doubt are not." ---John Patrick Shanley

somefeller said...

Seriously, somefeller, how can it be that there is another anti-Catholic movie out? Hasn't this dead horse been beaten flat already?

The theatrical version of Doubt, from which the movie was adapted, was anything but anti-Catholic. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I'm not sure someone who wasn't Catholic for at least some part of their lives could really get the full impact of the play. I haven't seen the movie yet, but nothing I've read leads me to believe that the movie is anti-Catholic, but what I have read leads me to believe the movie has lost many of the subtleties of the play, and as such is an inferior work. Though a lapsed Catholic friend of mine (who grew up in Catholic schools during the Vatican II transition - which is the period of the work) said it was a great film, but he hadn't seen the play. So maybe it's good as a stand-alone.

Just because a work depicts the allegations of abuse of a child by a Catholic priest (and I'm using the word allegations for a good reason - don't want to spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it) doesn't make it anti-Catholic. It is only anti-Catholic if you take the position that only triumphalist depictions of Catholic institutions are acceptable, which is a position that even the most devout Catholics generally won't take. Abuse happened, and there were (and remain) lots of power struggles and intrigues within Catholic institutions, whether at the highest levels or at little parish schools like the one in Doubt. Calling Doubt anti-Catholic is knee-jerk nonsense, unless the film totally diverges from the play, which I doubt it would.

somefeller said...

And there was no pun intended in the last sentence of my prior post.

Pogo said...

"It is only anti-Catholic if you take the position that only triumphalist depictions of Catholic institutions are acceptable..."

Thanks for your reasoned response, somefeller. I find it curious that the entertainment industry, and especially Hollywood, is only able to manage to produce films that have an utterly predictable stance.

* If a film depicts religion, it must be mocked or it must be the source of evil.
* A catholic priest = pedophile
* Non-christian religions are exempt, but shown as veneers, not unlike clothing one can don or doff according to the weather or event.
* Islam will not be the subject of denigration.

What a bore. Can you name a single Hollywood film in the past 30 years which has a triumphalist depiction of Catholic institutions?

I doubt it.

Robert Cook said...

Let me add that not only is DOUBT not about god or religion, it's not about Catholicism or pederasty.

Also, while Streep's character is driven by a certainty that she is pursuing the moral good in a fight against evil, we see here that moral certainty is no guarantor of right behavior, and in fact can lead to actions which are heartless and damaging, with potential consequences contrary to the good it purports to defend.

somefeller said...

What a bore. Can you name a single Hollywood film in the past 30 years which has a triumphalist depiction of Catholic institutions?

The Passion of the Christ comes to mind. It may not have depicted Catholic institutions, but it certainly was triumphalist and its aesthetic was based on a particular type of blood-and-guts Catholicism. It wasn't a high-church Episcopalian version of the Passion, that's for sure. And Doubt (the play, and from what I've read, the movie) does not mock religion or depict it as evil, so your first point fails with regard to that work.

And since the US is primarily a Judeo-Christian country with regard to religion, movies about Mohammed, Buddha or other non-Judeo-Christian religious figures probably aren't made for another reason - not much box office. Even Gandhi (which was made over two decades ago) played down the religious aspects (and weirdness) of the subject in favor of something more Hollywood-friendly, namely a big sweeping epic about national liberation in an exotic land. Laurence of Arabia, without the guns and Turkish sodomy.

Pogo said...

"...not only is DOUBT not about god or religion, it's not about Catholicism or pederasty"

From IMDB:
"Set at a Catholic school in the Bronx, it centers on a nun who grows suspicious when a priest begins taking too much interest in the life of a young black student."

From the Wiki on the play
"Father Flynn tells Sister Aloysius that "you have no right to act on your own! You are a member of a religious order. You have taken vows, obedience being one! You answer to us!'

She is willing to step outside the Church and even to risk excommunication to protect the children.

In the final scene, we learn that Flynn has been transferred to another parish (with another school) and received a promotion. Sister Aloysius, respecting the chain of discipline of the church, spoke with "our good Monsignor Benedict". He refused to believe her."


Does the movie differ?
Doubt seems to me to be precisely about doubt in the context of god, religion, Catholicism, and accusations of pederasty.

Hell, that's like saying Valkyrie isn't about Hitler.

Pogo said...

"The Passion of the Christ comes to mind."

Hilarious.
The only movie you can name was rejected and vilified by the media and by Hollywood itself.

Are you saying there are no political elements or great stories within the entire history of Islam that would prompt moviegoers to attend?

That explains the quick demise of 300, I suppose.

BJM said...

Streep's comment: "I don't have an organized religious thing, but I have love in my life." Was she asked a question about her religious beliefs in context with the film?

Even so, couldn't she deflect in a more thoughtful manner?

I've never understood why actors and entertainers are so eager to put off a large portion of their potential audience by coloring the perception of the work, especially a collaborative effort such as film, with personal opinions.

Empty seats trumps art on the bottom line and the studios will revert more to Marley & Me fluff and gratuitous violence as audiences evaporate for serious work as this box office chart indicates all too well.

Freder Frederson said...

What a bore. Can you name a single Hollywood film in the past 30 years which has a triumphalist depiction of Catholic institutions?

Dead Man Walking. But I guess the Catholic Church's stance on the death penalty is just a little too hard for you to swallow.

Freder Frederson said...

Hotel Rwanda

Freder Frederson said...

And what was that movie about the rescue of the POWs in the Phillipines in WWII?

Freder Frederson said...

That's three without even thinking hard.

Robert Cook said...

Pogo,

The story is set in the milieu of a Catholic parish, and the protagonists are members of the church, but this is just the framework for the story, which is about the conflict between doubt and certainty as aspects of human character and behavior. The story would be the same were it to be enacted in any institutional setting.

(For example, WEST SIDE STORY is not about juvenile delinquents and Puerto Rican immigrants in Manhattan's formerly economically deprived West Side, now the home of Lincoln Center; it is a retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story, which depicts the tragedy that arises from irrational hatreds between humans deriving from clannish suspicion and misunderstanding, where illusory tribal differences or feuds serve to debase human behavior and to separate humans from one another.)

BJM said...

Simon said: I don't think that the goal of David was to titillate!

Depends which Florentine statue of David you're referring to, Michelangelo's or Donatello's.

Michaelangleo's David was sculpted in the classic heroic Greek form; the athletic nude, but the statue itself represents the human spirit. The outstretched foot and disheveled hair, the muscular tension is dynamic, capturing David's moment of hesitation; to fight against overwhelming odds or flee.

As to Michelangelo's David's less than heroic endowment, it has been pronounced anatomically correct for a male body in a "pre-fight tension" and even so was still too shocking for Renaissance Florentine sensibilities. Michelangelo begrudgingly covered the pubic area with with copper leaves before it's public unveiling, later the leaves were removed.

On the other hand Donatello's David was commissioned by Cosimo de Medici to memorialize the Medici triumph over their enemies, allegorical schadenfreude.

The androgynous sensuality of the silky smooth bronze David as he contemplates his body, dressed in the latest French fashion, not the slain Goliath. One would be hard pressed to see the allegory without a description plate.

To create such a homoerotic piece could have been disastrous, if not fatal, for Donatello without the protection of the Medici. Cosimo placed the statue in the center of the courtyard of the Medici Palace where it was visible to all. Thumbing his nose at the church and local mores, which makes it my favorite of the two.

Pogo said...

"this is just the framework for the story"

Of course it is. Yet it reappears ad nauseum. Why so uncreative? Or perhaps it is in fact integral to the story.

It's more than a mere plot device.

somefeller said...

The only movie you can name was rejected and vilified by the media and by Hollywood itself. Are you saying there are no political elements or great stories within the entire history of Islam that would prompt moviegoers to attend? That explains the quick demise of 300, I suppose.

The Passion of the Christ was screened in thousands of mainstream movie houses, was produced by the actor who at that time was arguably the top box office actor in Hollywood and made millions. That's not rejection by Hollywood. And the number of critical stories about that film in the media were easily balanced by those who talked about how it was a big draw for religious people and perhaps they were an underserved film market.

As far as stories within the history of Islam as grist for filmmaking go, there no doubt are some good stories. Those stories aren't as likely to be as good for box office than stories that come from within Western European / American cultural traditions, however, for the same reasons why movies about the British monarchy do better at the box office (in this country) than those about the Russian monarchy, much less movies about monarchs from further east. Plus, if Hollywood made movies about exciting stories in Islamic history, they'd be pilloried by the jingo Right as being dhimmis (or whatever the popular phrase is among the moron set) for not portraying Muslims as purely evil enemies of our freedom.

And with regard to 300, let's remember that it was a popular comic book (oh, I'm sorry, graphic novel) and was part of the whole "Sin City" genre of computer-enhanced action films, and thus had a good customer base to start with.

somefeller said...

"Father Flynn tells Sister Aloysius that "you have no right to act on your own! You are a member of a religious order. You have taken vows, obedience being one! You answer to us!'

Also, that scene and the plot surrounding it was meant to show off the hypocrisy of the priest, who talked a good game about egalitarianism and the new Catholic Church, but was more than willing to fall back on the old clerical and patriarchal privileges if doing so served to silence a troublesome nun. It's not some Erin Brockovich feminism-lite moment.

blake said...

Technical point:

Are you saying there are no political elements or great stories within the entire history of Islam that would prompt moviegoers to attend?

That explains the quick demise of 300, I suppose.


The Battle of Thermopylae takes place in 480 BC, while Islam was founded in 600. The Persian emperor Xerxes would have been...mmmm...Zoroastrian?

That said, somefeller is wrong to suggest that the success of the graphic novel is significant to the success of the movie (except perhaps in that both have an underlying measure of that elusive quality known as, uh, "quality").

It may have gotten a boost from the Sin City movie, but N.B. that The Spirit--also bearing Frank Miller's imprimatur--has not been a success.

Success at the box office is only marginally boosted by success in other media, which is why they make video game movies on the cheap these days. (This is the sort of self-perpetuating concept that ghetto-ized comic books for years.)

Until Raimi's Spiderman, comic book movies were usually pretty low fare (excepting Burton's Batman and Donner's Superman, neither of which spawned any very successful imitators).

And no matter how many times they remake The Punisher, nobody wants to see it on the big screen.

blake said...

Meanwhile, my went-to-Catholic-school acquaintances have all spoke approvingly of the play and/or movie Doubt.

Interestingly, to me, since many of them hated the nuns, but seem on reflection to respect what it was the nuns represented.

Random item: John Patrick Shanley was the writer and director of Joe vs. the Volcano.

Pogo said...

"Zoroastrian?"
Quite right, blake, but what's a few centuries between friends?

As for somefeller's arguments, I would grant them to be true were there even scant evidence of Catholics or other religious folk being treated as heroes or in some sort of positive light in film. As it is, no.

blake said...

Well, Pogo, the anti-religionists have won the culture wars, at least for now in the West.

We may live to see the pendulum swing back, however.

Robert Cook said...

"Well, Pogo, the anti-religionists have won the culture wars, at least for now in the West."

???!!!

I doubt there's been any time in my life--and I am 53--where religion was so much a part of our public commons as now, or where religious zealots were actually pandered to and sought after for political support. We are a dangerously superstitious and anti-rational culture. Our Presidential candidates today must essentially pass a litmus test of being sufficiently "Christian" if they hope to have a chance at the office, something that would have been unthinkable before recent times.

somefeller said...

From the Podhoretz review: Doubt is a nearly perfect piece of theater. It has four characters, hurtles forward like a freight train over the course of an intermissionless 90 minutes, and leaves the audience devastated. The movie is longer and fussier, and features all manner of ludicrous flourishes, such as powerful breezes intended to represent the "winds of change" and skewed camera angles that are supposed to capture the off-kilter emotions of the protagonists but remind one of nothing so much as the scenes on the old Batman television show from the 1960s featuring the Joker and the Riddler...It may seem odd that Shanley would prove so ham-fisted in translating his own work to the screen, especially considering his conviction that Doubt can only be understood by the most subtle of intelligences.

That's exactly what I was afraid of. Doubt was an excellent play, and stayed with you long after you left the theater. The movie doesn't sound like it meets the standards set by the play. I'd rather my memory of the piece be the theatrical version.

blake said...

something that would have been unthinkable before recent times.

Only because someone whose Christian bona fides were truly challengeable would not even have gotten close to the nomination.

I mean, honestly. If we are more religious now, then you should be able to point to all the atheist and non-Christian Presidents of the past.

blake said...

We are a dangerously superstitious and anti-rational culture.

No argument there. But that's enough about "environmentalists" who talk about "scientific consensus" as if it were the freakin' Council of Nicaea.

Robert R. said...

I'd argue that the true thrust of the play/movie of DOUBT is neither pro- nor anti- Catholic, but neutral. There's potentially a bad Priest, but that's balanced by having good Nuns. It's a story that could be set in many institutions with a bureacracy. What's most intriguing about the view on Catholicism presented is that it's very supportive of the more conservative side of the Church. It's no more anti-Catholic than a movie about good cops trying to bust bad cops is anti-Police.

Having seen the play and the movie, let me add to the chorus that prefers the play. The direction of the movie is heavy handed with wind/rain/thunder! underscoring the conflicts. And presenting us with too much information. The play itself presents many of the key moments via second hand dialogue, making what actually happened somewhat abstract and giving a RASHOMON-like quality to the story. Giving us first hand views of key events, loving photographed by Roger Deakins, takes away a huge amount of ambiguity. It is compensated somewhat by creating a great sense of time and place, but the direction undercuts the writing. Which is odd considering the director is also the writer.

Robert R. said...

BTW, I just have to ask, what is actually titillating about DOUBT? Everybody is fully clothed and anything inappropriate that may or may not have happened is off screen. What definition of "titillating" are people using?

Ann Althouse said...

"BTW, I just have to ask, what is actually titillating about DOUBT? Everybody is fully clothed and anything inappropriate that may or may not have happened is off screen. What definition of "titillating" are people using?"

I'm referring to a series of films that involved sex with minors. I don't find that titillating, and I hope you don't, but I am criticizing Hollywood for the persistent use of this theme. "Doubt" is the least sexy presentation of sex between and adult and a minor of all the films that I named. Any titillation comes from hearing about something that happened and seeing the man and the child together with the hint of his sexual interest in the child. When the priest demonstrates the twirling ballerina toy to the child, he is, arguably, trying to draw out the boy's sexual feelings. Actually, on reflection, I think this is some serious titillation. It is the first step of a pedophile coming on to a child. That's quite creepy.

Robert R. said...

Creepiness and titillation strike me as opposites. Whatever else you can say about DOUBT, I think it makes it clear that it takes a hard line against pedophilia. (For that matter, I think SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE takes a line against childhood prostitution as well.)

I think there's a clear differentiation between those two movies and movies like BENJAMIN BUTTON and THE READER that in some ways glorify the relationships they portray. They may have some similar motifs, but they have very different moral stances.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, of course, any commercial film that wants to use pedophilia to titillate must also present it as wrong. That can be part of the titillation, too. Rape is also titillating in movies -- and presented as wrong.

Ann Althouse said...

"Creepiness and titillation strike me as opposites."

I disagree.

blake said...

Creepiness and titillation directed at the same target by the same person seems a little bizarre, or perhaps fetishistic. (I'm sure many fantasies of miscegenation actually derive their titillation from a degree of repulsion.)

On the other hand, creepiness directed at a target because one perceives the titillation a despised group might feel seems pretty natural, and in that sense, opposite.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get that vibe whenever Althouse points out the pedophile inclinations of Hollywood.

Robert R. said...

I guess I'm missing how DOUBT is supposedly titillating since there's nothing overt actually shown. Unless we're saying that anything that deals with the possibility of sex is by definition titillating. And we're all school kids at heart that giggle at the mere suggestion.

Personally, I see DOUBT as more of an intellectual mystery/thriller. And it's certainly trying to operate on that level, albeit without complete success. Certainly the play which includes none of the children can't be seen as titillating. Can it?

Ann Althouse said...

Good point about the difference between the play and the movie. Supports my suspicion that Hollywood is into pedophiliac titillation.

blake said...

Having just seen it, per point #1, Flynn does say "Don't forget the message of Our Savior".

There's also the praying scene where the altar boys are behind him as he prays (and the one is ringing the bells).

I confess, even forewarned, I did not notice the mucous scene.

anne said...

I just saw "Doubt" and I must say I was disappointed. What was the interesting story? Why does this story need to be told? What has not been told so many times before? Also: If the story is simply about having doubts about something, why use this particular story? Would not any person with a conscious act as Merly Strrep's character? What is so special about her behavior? Of course she needs to protect the child if she has the slightest doubt about the priest. A priest having a history of abuse - why on earth give him a second (third/fourth) chance? When it come to people being around children, I think there is a very important duty to everybody to have doubt as soon as any alarm signals occur. Isn't that common sense?

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