Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Doubt – Magical Transformations of Meryl Streep and Amy Adams

To observe Meryl’s amazing character range and her chameleon-like ability to become someone completely different for each role, try watching “Doubt” immediately after viewing “Julie and Julia” and be astounded as you watch Streep go from sweet, effusive and ultimately lovable Julia Child to the grim, hard-eyed Sister Aloysius Beauvier. I realize costume/wardrobe and make-up go a long way in transforming a person into their character persona, but with Streep’s sheer range of aspect projection one sometimes has to do a double-take to realize it’s her.

Doubt is the first of the two movies (so far) where Amy Adams played opposite Meryl Streep and it should be interesting to see if these two continue to work on projects together. I love Amy Adams. She is absolutely adorable, though I hesitate to go so far as to say that she’s 2010’s answer to Meg Ryan, it is refreshing to see a newer, sparkly face on the horizon.

Anyone who has kids has probably seen “Enchanted” and witnessed Adams’ 2000 watt singing & dancing performance as Giselle, but many are unaware of her even more superb role as Delysia Lafosse in “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.” (see review: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/390040/Miss-Pettigrew-Lives-for-a-Day/overview) This movie is a wonderful period piece sleeper starring Adams and Frances McDormand. I have no idea why this film did not get more critical acclaim or public recognition, but right now you can get it used on Amazon.com for the bargain price of 98 cents plus shipping. This movie is worth owning because of its quirky story line, wonderful cast and the art deco set design is delicious.

If you are looking for something a little grittier to entertain you and are curious about Adams’ dramatic range, you can also rent/buy “Sunshine Cleaning” which is a much darker film, but one can’t help but like all the dysfunctional characters as they struggle to try to get what they want. Adams works closely with Emily Blunt in this movie (“The Jane Austin Book Club” & “The Devil Wears Prada”) and according to an interview I saw, Blunt actually encouraged Adams to audition for the nun role in Doubt. Nice friend, eh? I wish I knew an angel who could point me towards some plum jobs!

Doubt is not necessarily a movie I would recommend buying, but it is worth watching simply for the dramatic story line and superb acting. The severity of the scenery and sets enhance the tone of the 1964 Bronx parochial school and Sister Aloysius (Streep) dominates as the iron-fisted principle while the sort of mousy and naïve Sister James (Adams) is pulled into a power struggle between her and the new parish priest. The aspect I found most satisfying about this movie was Streep’s portrayal of Sister Aloysius’s humanity. It would have been easy to show her as simply an overbearing nun with a taste for doling out punishment, but she shows us just a hint of her human frailty and we understand that there is a person with feelings underneath the fearsome mask.

Enjoy Meryl’s performance – it is outstanding.

Here are two inteviews on the movie – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5FErzGOrV8&feature=related & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTKOjlTLuI0&feature=related

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