Saturday, February 21, 2009


Meryl Streep plays an overbearing nun administrator in a Catholic Church in Boston. For some reason she sets her sights on Philip Seymour Hoffman who plays Father Brendan Flynn. Sister Aloysius Beauvier is the character of Streep and she is on a witchhunt for any type of thinking or teaching she deems foreign or unrelated to church thought and prayer. Unfortunately, her version is devoid of fun or any type of interesting educational practices.

Hoffman and Streep are at odd in this film. It is much more than the differences of sex, this has nothing to do with it. One is OK with change and the other wants to abide by some form of Catholic strictness that throughout time has only pushed people away. This movie takes place in 1964 on the dawn of this change, some good and some bad. But Streep's character is steadfast in her beliefs and is more like a robot than Arnold Schwartzenegger's terminator character in Terminator II.

This movie is not a blockbuster, it is more like a theatrical performance based on trust and disbelief. The movie has a slight gay component to it before gay people were widely accepted and still are not in a lot of the black community. Which I have no qualms about.

Hoffman and Streep share most of the load in this film as they tear each other too shreds. Both of them are seeking to end each others' careers. Is Hoffman guilty of these serious accusations? One does not really know throughout the film. One thing is for certain, Hoffman is hilarious and and has proven acting reserves. What can he not do? He is almost like a DeNiro, his range knows almost no bounds. Whether it is issueing nasty and severe threats to Tom Cruise in the superlative MI3 film or playing sloppy but entertaining basketball with Ben Stiller in Along Came Sally. Too bad that movie had Jennifer Aniston in it. Hoffman is entertaining but he is terrible at basketball. If that was acting he should have won an Oscar for such horrendous athletic ability. That was truly fiction, no one that horrible would ever step voluntarily on the basketball court.

I enjoyed the music because I am Catholic and this movie had some of the best music our church has too offer. This movie had some positives and negatives regarding the church. I am sure the Bill Maher's of the world will use this movie as fodder but these types of people are shallow and carry with them a lot of hate. Kind of like a Protestant I met once in Jinju.

This adaption of some of the few church misdeeds does not have anyone else worth mentioning. A couple of decent performances. This movie will probably not last more than one weekend in the theatres. I am not sure of the intention of this movie, what did the director and writer(s) have in mind? Are they trying to bring up terrible memories? Damage the church? Or just illustrate accusations can not all be proven and some good people can be brought down with fruitless allegations? Father Flynn is redeemed in this movie and his character does not lose his cloth, much to the dismay and disappointment to Streep's character. Rather, Father Flynn is promoted to a higher post.

The deep meaning that I took from this movie which has already been briefly mentioned in this posting is this: how many members of the church that are like Streep's character, completely dogmatic have nudged people away from the church? The Jerry Falwell's of the world do as much damage to the church, easily more than the Bill Mahers of the planet.

Streep is hard nosed and dead set at stripping the cloth from Hoffman and if it takes destroying a child to do so, this is a hindrance but her pursuit of her truth is more important and takes precedence. Streep does what it takes to ruin Father Flynn. But Father Flynn resigns under his own cognition to take a promotion at another school. Why play tit for tat with a authoratarian like this Sister when one can rise above that and take a school to new heights? He could prove his way and philosophy works on a broader scale than just sticking around the school with an old school sister like Streep's character.

This movie had two impressive characters but that is it. Only a few issues are explored here. The movie is deep but not worth ever watching more than once and I am not sure or am glad I did not have to pay to see it.

The interesting thing is the accuser here is someone within the church so this could bother and upset the Bill Maher's in our universe. And Streep's character breaks down at the end of the movie. It is hard to believe but at this time this is probably when just an accusation could thwart someone's career. The guilt on how painful her allegation is towards someone else forces her into tears at the end of this film. This is the final scene. Not a pleasant movie.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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