Sunday, 30 May 2010
This film's title is not only descriptive of what it's central theme is, it is also what you're left with after watching it. Subtitled 'There are no simple truths', this film attracted five Oscar nominations with heavy-weight performances from Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.
Father Flynn preachers a sermon on doubt - which of course everyone feels is directed uniquely at them. This irritates Sister Aloysius, the school Principal and a member of the Sisters of Charity. Set in the Bronx 1964, the film is dimly lit and monochromatic which reflects the world as the puritanical Sister Aloysius sees it. The wind of change from Vatican II and the aftermath of the death of Kennedy are blowing through the Catholic Church and the USA. The priest is trying to usher in a more progressive and humanist (liberal) approach. Sister Aloysius still relies on the old way (conservative) of doing school - by instilling the fear of Sister Aloysius into pupils - and staff!
Suspicions are raised about Father Flynn's behaviour with the only black student in the school. Sister Aloysius dislikes Father Flynn immensely - not only for his preaching but also for the fact that he uses a ball-point pen, takes three sugars in his tea and likes Frosty the Snowman! Having built a hatred based on irrationality, it is impossible to determine if Sister Aloysius' feelings are a true reading of character or simply more prejudice.
In the power struggle that ensues, there are no winners - only losers. I'm keeping this short so that I don't give too much away. This is an intellectually stimulating film that deals with real issues that very topical, with fine acting and an uncertain outcome. Excellent cinema.
I wish I could preach like Father Flynn.
I'll give this 7/10.
Posted by Duncan Strathie at 21:57