Doubt serves as a chilling indictment of some of the seedier aspects of the Catholic Church. Based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play by the same name, it revolves around the abusive relationship between Father Flynn (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) and one of his young alter boys. There are several nuns who are aware of his transgressions, but they struggle with the idea of exposing him fully. Even though Father Flynn is confronted and forced to resign, his crimes were not made public, so he is sent to a different diocese, one with a larger congregation and a parochial school. Essentially, he is promoted. Although the film deals with very serious issues of child molestation, it always maintains a sense of ambiguity. The nun who confronted Father Flynn lied about her contact at one of his previous churches, thus driving him out on only her suspicions. The young boy's mother, upon being confronted with the truth of Father Flynn's proclivities, still wants to keep her son at the school. And as for Father Flynn himself, for a good portion of the film he comes off as a likeable, reform-minded priest...except for the fact that he's a pedophile (although that word is never uttered in the film). Absolute faith in anyone, even God, is not always a good thing, and allowing for the existence of doubt and moral ambiguity is a message most atheists can identity with.
Audrey Fox is an ex-film student, which means that she prefers to spend her days in the dark, watching movies and pondering the director's use of diegetic sound. She currently works as an entertainment writer, joyfully rambling about all things film and television related. Add her on Twitter at @audonamission and check out her film blog at 1001moviesandbeyond.com.