It's 1964, St. Nicholas in the Bronx. A charismatic priest, Father Flynn, is trying to upend the school's strict customs, which have long been fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-gloved Principal who believes in the power of fear-based discipline. The winds of political change are sweeping through the community, and indeed, the school has just accepted its first black student, Donald Miller. But when Sister James, a hopeful innocent, shares with Sister Aloysius her guilt-inducing suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much personal attention to Donald, Sister Aloysius sets off on a personal crusade to unearth the truth and to expunge Flynn from the school. Now, without a shard of proof besides her moral certainty, Sister Aloysius locks into a battle of wills with Father Flynn which threatens to tear apart the community with irrevocable consequences. Written by
I was taken aback by the lack of nuance and subtlety. Meryl Streep is a monstrous nun from the very beginning and Philip Seymour Hoffman is a wimp that can shout but remains a wimp. I just didn't believe any of it, which is a pity because this are among my favorite actors of all time. I think that John Patrick Shanley (the writer, director) didn't have enough muscle to handle this enormous talents. Meryl's nun couldn't hide anywhere, she carries her intolerance, frustration and repression on her sleeve. She knows she is hated but according to her, that's her job. No, I didn't believe it. I thought what Vanessa Redgrave, Liv Ullman, Helen Mirren even Cherry Jones who played her on the stage could have done with this creature and then, Philip Seymour Hoffman's priest, without a single vibe of sexuality, imagine what Montgomery Clift could have done with that! After saying what I've said I also have to add that the film is never boring and that is also merit of the miscast leads. They are great fun to watch. The film is dedicated to Sister James, the young nun played by the wonderful Amy Adams, so this is based on a real case? I don't believe that either.
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