Oscar-Nominated Doubt on DVD: A DVD Review

Philip Seymour Hoffman likes little boys?Doubt arrives on DVD this coming Tuesday, April 7, 2009. This chilling movie features the best collective performances of 2008 by far, and even if the movie were worse than The Love Guru, it would be worth it to see the actors involved.

Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis were all nominated for their performances, and director John Patrick Shanley was nominated for his adaptation of his screenplay. The movie, about a nun who suspects that a popular young priest is in fact a pedophile, is one of 2008’s best, and better than Slumdog Millionaire. Yes, better than Slumdog Millionaire. And it’s not even close.

Having already reviewed Doubt, I shift my focus to this brand new shiny DVD that arrived in my mailbox the other day (unlike my Netflix deliveries, which are oddly two days late). Given that Doubt is a pretty tightly made drama, there are not a tremendous amount of special features, but the ones that are included are worthwhile:

  • From Stage to Screen
    A short, 20-minute featurette that includes Shanley’s challenges and inspiration for bringing his play to the big screen, casting decisions and other things. It’s pretty straightforward, but all of the actors contribute interviews, so it’s worthwhile.
  • The Cast of Doubt
    An even shorter featurette, this one simply interviews the entire leading cast (the four Oscar nominees) all at the same time. Some of their exchanges and thoughts on the movie are interesting.
  • Scoring Doubt
    This one’s only nine minutes long, but the guy responsible for scoring the film talks about his choices for music. There are some informative moments, such as his approach to portraying the wind – and to keep the music neutral so that the audience has to decide which character is in the right.
  • The Sisters of Charity
    Real nuns as quasi-portrayed in the movie weigh in on the changes that have been made to their lives and faith over the last few decades, ever since John Paul II eased what nuns can do and how they can dress to modernize the church.
  • Audio Commentary with Shanley

All-in-all, you can watch the special features in about half an hour. But the featurettes, which are primarily interview based, are insightful and interesting; there’s no filler here. Doubt is an extraordinary movie and one of the best films of 2008; the DVD is well worth owning, regardless of the special features.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: DVD Releases, Movie Reviews