Director John Patrick Shanley loves to deal with weighty philosophical themes, but thankfully he knows how to do so through three-dimensional characters that make his grand ideas a part of everyday life. Doubt,
his adaptation of his own award-winning play, offers a crystalline example of his remarkable gifts. The film stars Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, a no-nonsense Catholic middle school principal who watches over her students with steely eyes and a firm hand. She carries a simmering dislike for the popular priest Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) because his easy rapport with the students clashes with her old-school style. After Flynn delive...