Filmography links and data courtesy of IMDb.
Starring: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Meryl Streep is my favourite actress and I thought Hoffman was a great scting talent so I was looking forward to seeing this film. It is a little slow to get started but I expected that, as it gives you an idea of the setting before the film gets into full swing.
The acting as expected was superb. Hoffman is the amiable priest who knows how to connect with the children, is well loved by the churchgoers and wants to change a few old fashioned ideas for some modern thinking. Streep is the old fashioned nun who doesn't like him trying to change things and is constantly watching out for him to do something wrong. Her mistrust starts to rub off on impressionable Adams who sees possible inappropriate actions and reports it. Thuis is what Streep is waiting for and she launches into a campaign to force Hoffman out.
It is a powerful film because you can understand all sides to this. You like the character Father Flynn because he seems like the nice guy, trying to help a vulnerable child, and is outraged by the slurs cast on him. He looks to be innocent of a crime and you WANT him to be innocent because you like him. However, Sister Beauvier is strict, unyielding and not greatly liked by the children, presenting the grim face of nuns in the 1960s. But she believes that a child is being abused at her school and is determined to put a stop to it so she is not a bad person at all. She won't look the other way and will not stop until the child is safe. If she believes this so strongly, can we really be critical of her for trying to help? It is a difficult one and you feel sorry for Sister James who wants to believe she was wrong about Flynn.
It is a film about interpreting what you see in a couple of scenes-and who you believe. As the film porogresses, I found myself starting to have doubts and wondering if Flynn was gulty-and then thinking that I had it wrong! It says a lot about the script and the acting. Now I am a fan of action blockbusters and gory horror so this film is so far away from my usual choices that I wasn't sure if I would like it. I don't generally enjoy films with little action. However the acting is just so good that you are caught up in the story. It's not a film I could watch multiple times but I'm glad I looked at it.