Posted in Movies on November 13, 2009|
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The Hubs and I watched Doubt the other night. It has been a very long time since we have seen such a provocative film; it produced an intense discussion between us, as we both came to different conclusions. Granted, we both began watching it with differing preconceived notions about the outcome, or rather…the “truth.” Interestingly, neither of us knew that the other had any biases in the beginning, which led us both to be surprised at our opposing interpretations. Not only did we disagree about the “truth” (I have the word in quotes because the film does not resolve itself with the truth, hence the title Doubt), but we had wildly different understandings of specific scenes. There are at least two particular conversations in the film that I perceived meanings from, which perceptions I thought to be quite obvious, but that my husband not only disagreed with but was surprised by the meanings that I took to be obvious!
Am I confusing you? Perhaps you should watch the movie. It is quite thought provoking. Be prepared for very heavy material going into it, for this is definitely not a light, easily resolved drama. The question that both my husband and I are left wondering is whether or not the writer, John Patrick Shanley, himself knows what the truth is…or has he intentionally refused certainty a place in his own mind? Knowing the answer to this question would at least give the audience some guidance in forming our conclusions, but I suspect that guiding us toward a conclusion is actually the last thing he wants to do. His intention is for us to wonder…to doubt…to think.
As stated by Jeremy Barker in his review of the orignial play: “Doubt…takes as its subject not the effect of sexual abuse by priests but rather the gray area that lies between fact and accusation, and its dramatic action somewhat unsurprisingly leads the audience to questions rather than answers.” Even as I said that my husband and I both came to different conclusions, the fact is, after a lengthy and deep discussion afterward, neither of us were certain of our conclusions at all…we each led the other to doubt them.
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For Christmas I bought my husband the HBO miniseries John Adams. Ok, I’ll admit that it was a partly self-interested gift as I knew there would be several sessions of cuddly movie time in store for me. He was excited about the gift, though I’m sure he suspected my hidden intentions. Watch it together we did…and we LOVED it! Seriously, this is a must see. It is entertaining, informative, provocative and inspiring. The acting is superb…Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney do a commendable job in the title roles. Having just seen the musical 1776 last July, this was especially fun for us as it expanded on the events and themes from the play.
“ The general principals upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity… I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” John Adams
Some things I learned, and some that I already knew but were reinforced for me:
- Our country has been in a state of constant, vibrant, and at times virulent political debate since it’s inception. There is nothing wrong with this. Our country is unique in that free political speech and bitter disagreement, and tolerance for such free speech and disagreement, have been inherent throughout its history. It is dangerous to attempt to limit any speech in this country, no matter the intentions.
- Seeing the above reenacted on screen actually gave me great hope that despite the current backlash against disagreement and call for unity of thought, that this great nation can remain strong and continue to be the shining example of freedom to the rest of the world that it always has been.
- “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” David O. McKay
- John Adams relied heavily on the advice of his wife, Abigail, throughout his life.
- No matter what I go through in life or how difficult things get, I’m glad to be enduring it in the 21st century and NOT the 18th century.
It was also fun to learn so much about a Founding Father that we don’t hear about as much as some of his contemporaries. I loved that the miniseries focused not only on the Founding and/or his presidency, but took us all the way through the end of his life. Both my husband and I felt inspired afterward to learn more about our Founding Fathers and the early history of this the greatest nation on God’s Earth. In fact, My Man has already acquired two new books, one on George Washington and one on Thomas Jefferson. I am excited to read them and will happily share any interesting trivia and lessons learned.
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