Doubt centers around an acting tour de force that never becomes annoying the way a lot of movies that feature acting tour de forces usually do (read: Rachel Getting Married). I really didn't have a lot of interest in seeing this one and think it was too mildly presented to audiences and advertised as something much more boring than it is. True, it's comprised of speeches and monologues (as you probably know, it's adapted by John Patrick Shanley from his own renowned stage play), but I found it completely compelling.
Much of the credit goes to the ever wonderful Meryl Streep – a woman who knows how to act with an accent (in this case Bronx, 1960s) who's so good so often that one takes her for granted and forgets her talents, or at least only recalls recent performances in Mama Mia and Prime over her roles in Kramer vs Kramer and Angels in America. But the credit extends to Philip Seymour Hoffman too (man who, when he's good, he's exceptional), this is one of his best roles in years (I also personally loved him most in Boogie Nights) and the small supporting cast, including Amy Adams doing wide-eyed as only she can and Viola Davis, are great.
Some critics have complained about the film's 'staginess', but it never bothered me. I thought it was a thought provoking still life of a problem that we now know has been far reaching and horrible. It plays with your emotions and prejudices and you find yourself in doubt as the plot progresses. The amiable characters that you like and want to believe may in fact be monsters, and those that are less likable and even frightening could actually be the only voice of reason. This was a real surprise.