The movie Doubt, now in theaters, offers an interesting chance for a disagreement case study. In the movie, Sister Beauvier accuses Father Flynn of a particular act, and viewers wonder: did he actually do it, and was she justified in her response? My wife and I disagreed quite a lot on Flynn's guilt – she's about at 95% confidence and I'm about at 40%. Apparently other viewers
100% guilty. Watch the movie: Flynn says Donald forgot his t-shirt that morning. No, he didn't; he was wearing it and you can see it in the shot of him sitting on the staircase after serving mass (you can see where the sleeve ends, underneath his shirt - his skin color makes it stand out even more). In fact, he already has his dress shirt on over it. No reason to take it off for any reason after that because mass is over
Later: Donald gets called to the rectory. He stands up (in class) and starts to adjust himself. He is NOT drunk, but he comes back drunk. When did he get drunk? Flynn says he called Donald to the rectory because he was caught earlier, by McGuinn. That was the FIRST time he drak altar wine, and it's the reason he's called to the rectory. Coming back drunk from the meeting would have been the SECOND time. So, Donald got drunk some time between leaving class and coming back. When? Are we to believe he stopped off in the sacristy and got drunk before he met with Father Flynn or, happy that he could remain an altar boy, decided to celebrate by getting drunk after? Neither. It was during.
Guilty as sin! although i appreciate the understanding in the chat , and taking a seat on the fence as it were ..but we know there is a answer to the question we all have, so why not have a conclusion??i believe his guilt, i cant say he is for sure , but accurately analyzing this film, the signs of his shame as well as fear are there in spades, now if i found out he was innocent, i blame the movie for misguiding me...it weighs heavy on his guilt. The woman was brave strong and trusted her self...she did not need him to be wrong because he exposed that on his own she pushed the boundaries as a test, and he failed and froze under scrutiny! now him being gay is a credible possibility, now understand any i mean any unhealthy behavior with the children is grounds for release in my opinion, she could be wrong about molestations, but her instincts were not wrong completely and without her sticking to her guns, who knows what the future holds for the kids there....the blond boy surely was weary of him. Innocent people don't need proof, they are simply disgusted at the false accusations ! you know it and i know it! He said to her that i can fight this, she confidently said go right ahead there is the phone, and what does he do? \sits there and sulks?? yea not looking good , also i give a A+ to her interrogation abilities. She did have her doubts! but under a few scary assumptions he froze guys!!! she risked her job as well, her fighting for the well being of the children and integrity of the school was worth the risk. What troubles him most is her suspensions and not his pain of being falsely accused. worried worried man
I stage managed a production of Doubt a couple years back. It is not nearly as cut-and-dried as this poster would have us believe. It is a legitimate assumption that both of them are gay (our actor played it that way).
This interpretation goes a long way toward explaining why he had been moved around from other postings; it is just as likely that the discovery of his homosexuality in these previous postings would have occasioned his being transferred -and- this provides a legitimate cause for his acquiescence to Sister Aloysius's demand that the leave.
It also allows one to explain a bond between Flynn and Donald Muller.
What this interpretation does not do is add to any evidence of wrongdoing. Given this information, it is neither more or less certain that Flynn behaved improperly toward the boy. It is an equally valid interpretation to believe that he felt the need, given the common ground of homosexuality, to support, protect, and guide Donald Muller -without- anything improper occurring between them.
Now, this issue of the undershirt is certainly one that is likely to raise suspicions (and is, incidentally, an addition of the film adaptation; it is not in the original text of the play). But this is, in fact, no more conclusive than the touch that Sister Aloysius observed between Flynn and another boy or, indeed, any other piece of circumstantial evidence provided through the course of the narrative. There are perfectly innocent explanations for why a gym teacher might end up in possession of a boy's undershirt. There are even less innocent explanations (such as Donald spilling the wine Flynn may or may not have given him and the priest aiding him in covering it up by taking and laundering the shirt) that do not necessitate anything sexual between boy and priest.
The fact of the matter is that the ambiguity is intentionally and masterfully maintained because the ambiguity is the point.
Now, having spoken on behalf of Flynn, one must also acknowledge that it is highly unlikely that Aloysius's breakdown at the end has anything to do with her doubting that she was correct in her assessment of Flynn's character. Saints (and witch-hunters) rarely doubt such things. Thus this breakdown ought not to be interpreted as in any way indicating Flynn's innocence.
That she questions the rightness of her actions in resorting to deceit to remove a man she considered a threat to the boys in her school...that her actions have placed that supposedly-dangerous man where he may yet do more harm...that the supposedly-holy institution she serves is the means by which this danger is maintained rather than destroyed...These are all more legitimate interpretations of her sorrow and horror.
She doubts her own faith in the church; is trying to protect a child whether gay or not, he cannot be a consulting adult. Some seem to forget this on this thread.
I think Father Flynn was a homosexual (but priests are celibate anyway, so it doesn't really matter). That would explain why he'd moved around in the preceding years, and his more "progressive" stance. I think he noticed Donald exhibited a lot of the same tendencies, and so he took Donald under his wing in a STRICTLY PLATONIC, PATERNAL way. Sure, it was unusual how close they were, but I don't think Flynn did anything untoward.
Wrong..totally wrong. Because cultural values at home are different between blacks and whites.
If I was a pastor who hadn't done anything wrong, I will be SO confident about my character despite the circumstances, that someday the truth will come out when the boy grows up and speaks of it. Truth cannot be hidden forever for the most part. And if he did molest the child, that too will come out in time. It has happened before.
The most-telling giveaway to Flynn's guilt was this: in their final scene together, Sister Beauvier asks Flynn once again whether he did it, and he says "no" but his head nods up and down like a yes. This is called opposite nodding and is usually a clear indicator of lying/deception through body language. My theory is, since writer John Patrick Stanley only told Philip Seymour Hoffman whether Flynn was guilty or not, this was Hoffman's small, subtle way of letting us know. Hoffman didn't *have* to opposite-nod, he chose to, methodically as an actor. That, in addition to the Donald's undershirt being in his possession, the peculiar behavior of the blond boy towards Flynn ALONE (he acts up in general, but is only disgusted/apprehensive with close contact with Flynn) and the fact that Flynn usually reverted to asking investigative questions when confronted (as to figure out how much the Sisters know/can prove) leads me to believe Flynn was guilty of foul play with Donald.
Categorizing people is not exactly truth, even when some newer religionists have undertaken those tactics.
No. You are wrong. I am willing to bet my life on it
Last paragraph ===> Yes! I thought that same thing as well. She said the younger nun wanted 'simplicity' ... But 100% thinking he's guilty can also be simplistic.
Oh good heavens, expecting every instance of a black person in a movie to represent all black people is stereotypical of black people. Why are you REPRESENTING black people so poorly??
There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that this movie Even EXISTS outside your MIND. Nothing is real but Your PERCEPTIONS.
Perhaps. Good point. Also, he was a bit of a troublemaker.
Sister Aloysius' suspicion was based on one thing; DOUBT. Doubt nags the mind and it refuses to go away. All she did was send him away by bluffing and I don't believe Father Flynnn resigned because he was guilty but because he was tired of that woman prosecuting him with no proof. I'm glad she didn't succeed in destroying his life.
I agree. Thus film is all about what views are going to bring TO the film from their own life's experiences. There is NO EVIDENCE of Father Flynn's being gay (not that that is a crime, OF COURSE), nor of his molesting Donald (this, of course, WOULD be a crime (.
The whole purpose is in the title. DOUBT. The film is all about how people will interpret small actions and GOSSIP (remember Father Flynn's last sermon, about a feathers in the air, and how they spread, like "gossip"?), based on evidence, no facts....just their own feelings and prejudices.