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DOUBT - Aka…Effeminate Heterosexual Plays A Possibly Pedophiliac Priest

By Old Dan Cedar - Posted on 07 September 2009

I will tell you Old Dan Cedar’s draw to this movie. I had recently seen the Pulitzer Prize (2005) winning play of the same name written by John Patrick Shanley. The movie was also written and directed by the same gentleman, and stars two of the great actors of our day.

So, they couldn’t fuck it up too much, right? Not so fast, Nostra-Dumbass…..

Having grown up a rebellious Catholic – It is always hard to find humor in the sexual deviant behavior and subsequent cover-up by church hierarchy. When I was Young Dan Cedar – I actually served as an altar boy in a church where a Monsignor was accused of sexual misconduct with young boys.

Unless I have some Roseanne Barr memories heretofore unearthed, I believe that I left St. Matthews unscathed, at least sexually speaking.

What makes Doubt – the material - so good - is that its two main characters are played against—modern-Hollywood-type. The characters initially are easily judged and pigeon-holed. Then a paradoxical side to each of the characters slowly develops.

The priest, Father Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is played as a progressive, articulate man of the people who wants to embrace hope and change - and throw off the backward, old-guard way of thinking.

Sound like the newly elected leader of our country?

Suspicions are aroused and Father Flynn is accused of molesting a 12 year-old black boy.

This sobering subject matter doesn’t allow for much humor, but I found it a bit amusing that the alleged abuse happens in “the rectory”.

His Antagonist, Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) is played as a tee totaling, austere, woman that wants to take America, the church and its followers back to a more pious and modest time.

She also believes self-discipline (including not using sugar in coffee) and stern values should be re-emphasized to society in general. Sister Aloysius has no trouble looking after her flock as their shepherd and quickly, maybe too quickly, makes judgments about those with whom she sees as doing wrong.

Evil must be fought wherever it exists.

Sound like another recent President of The United States?
When Sister Aloysius is asked by Father Flynn, “Where is your compassion?”
She replies, “Nowhere you can get at it.”

Doubt – takes place in the autumn of 1964, less than a year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

America is seeking a new moral compass: sexually, racially, religiously and politically. Doubt shows us the struggles of how to deal with these things when there is uncertainty – as there is in most of our personal choices.

Things seem to be less black and white than even10 years earlier. Moral Relativism has begun to creep into the American consciousness and we are looking for people of vision to articulate these nuances for us.

The 60s were defined by visionaries: JFK, MLK, Robert Kennedy, The Beatles, Timothy Leary, Billy Graham, Mao, Castro, and Nixon.

All of these charismatic leaders had respect and power given to them.

Both the movie and the play take the audience to unexpected places morally and intellectually, although the movie is much less nuanced and draws more conclusions for the audience.

It is up to the rest of us to be the Sister Aloysius’s of society and not let that power go unchecked.

The weak in society are defenseless and should be protected!!

There are 40.000 dogs killed each year in dog fighting.
Indefensible! Outrageous! NO DOUBT!!

The church acknowledges about 11,000 accusations of child molestations by American clergy. Indefensible! Outrageous! NO DOUBT!

But there are 1,200,000 babies aborted EACH YEAR!!
Where is the outrage? Where is your compassion?
Nowhere that I can get at it.
Would a movie have ever been made on this subject by a major studio?
I doubt it.

All of these acts are personal choices, but selfishness and moral relativism have replicated exponentially.

The educated and quasi-moral among us don’t go to dogfights or mess with kids, but there is that small chance we may be (in some way) involved in an unwanted pregnancy.

It’s much easier to judge those that aren’t like us at all – like the dog fighters, child abusers or even the Nazis.

We don’t judge because we don’t want to be hypocrites.

Maybe we all need a little more Sister Aloysius in our collective backbone and a little less tolerance.

If so, maybe this will be a safer place for the world’s children.

Doubtless, there will be more false accusations.

Maybe we will make things worse.

Maybe God likes these over-cussing movie reviews.

I have my doubts, but who the fuck knows?

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