Written and Directed by John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viola Davis.
While the film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’s stage play is still an enjoyable ‘did-he? did he not?’ moral ride, it lacks something which the premise hints at: ambiguity. As a director, Shanley spends less time trying to hit moral ambiguities than in creating horribly didactic film gimmicks (I’m looking at you animal imagery!) that dissolve any punch the moral minefield he concocted for the stage had in the first place. That said, leave it to Meryl, Amy, Viola and Hoffman to make the film the performance showcase it should be and raise it above its directorial crutches – especially when Shanley let’s them do their work (with his words nonetheless!) and creates wonderfully (tragi)comic scenes that are at once a battle of the wills and a cross-section of the changing world of the Christian faith in the mid-twentieth century. A-