November 22, 2009 - No doubt about it. The acting is great in this 2008 big screen adaptation of John Patrick Shanley's stage play of the same name. Shanley wrote the screenplay and directs an A-list cast that includes Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis. Those four and Shanley all received Oscar nominations for their work.

Streep plays Sister Aloysius, the no-nonsense principal of a Bronx Catholic school in 1964. Hoffman is Father Flynn, a younger man with progressive ideas. One Sunday, he uses his sermon to speak about doubt. The topic sets Sister Aloysius to wondering. She soon comes to the conclusion that Father Flynn has acted inappropriately with the only black boy in the school. But did he? Sister James (Adams) has her doubts, but Sister Aloysius won't rest until the maybe-not-so-good father is gone.

Overall review: *** Hoffman goes toe-to-toe with Streep and holds his own as their characters face off in a tense battle. Whether or not Father Flynn is a child molester is really beside the point. The bigger picture is the battle between man vs. woman, progressive vs. traditional, set within the confines of a church that gives men all the power but which is also very slow to change. It's riveting - right up until the very end.