MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams. Drama/suspense. Written (from his play) and directed by John Patrick Shanley.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A very stern nun/principal of a Catholic school suspects a charismatic priest of having sexual designs on a new student. With little more than a gut feeling, she crusades both unearth the truth and expunge the father from the school.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I had no interest in seeing the film. I was sure it would be another film tinged with a filmmakerís glee at exposing a man of Godís foibles. What surprised me was the dialogue. It is sharp, penetrating, thought provoking writing. And the performances by all three leads are truly captivating. I knew to expect nothing less of Ms. Streep, but I completely bought Mr. Hoffman as a compassionate priest. Considering the anything but religious characters he has played in the past, it was remarkable to see the actor convincingly portray a man who could preach and pastor.

Itís smart writing, with wind used as symbolic of changing social and political times. By filmís end the filmmaker doesnít outright tell us if the priest is a pedophile or not. This led to a conversation with one lady convinced he was, and another with a woman who thought he was innocent. The film caused conversation about moral certainty and doubtís place in the human psyche.

All too often we leave the theater, the just seen film almost immediately forgotten. This one stimulates conversation. Itís a clean film, receiving its rating due to the adult subject matter, not for objectionable language or graphic visuals.

That said, if youíre looking for a film with a more uplifting ending, allow me to suggest the following DVD Alternative: Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Ingrid Bergman stars in this true story of a missionary who leads a group of children on a perilous journey in pre-WW2 China. It contains the most moving conversion Iíve seen in the movies, as we witness change in a manís life due to this courageous womanís example. It reminds viewers that our lifestyle does affect others.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: One use of the s-word by a student.

Profanity: None

Violence: None. A bloody nose.

Sex: Did this priest mess with a student? We never know the answer for certain.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: The priests are seen drinking with their dinner.

Other: None

Running Time: 104 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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