A challenging movie that is excellent for raising discussions on gossip, arrogance and grace in your home or small group. I give it a 4/5 stars.
I would like to begin by saying whoever picked Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman for their respective roles was a genius. Meryl Streep's stearned look and serious demeanor has served her well over the years, but I really liked Hoffman's character. I had type-casted Hoffman as always playing the jerk or the bad guy (i.e.: MI:3 and Along came Polly) and seeing him playing a catholic priest, with all the bad publicity they've had the last few decades, I had the same prejudices as Streep's character. Director and writer John Patrick Shanley did an excellent job of giving both audiences, those who believed the priest was innocent and those who believed he was not, just enough doubt to keep you from being100% certain.
I especially liked the sermons that Hoffman's character gave. They were short, to the point, but full of imagery and relativity. I felt that they were also very non-denominational. They showed glimpses of what is commonly known about catholic traditions and practices, but really with out the garb, I would've thought it was a Protestant church.
This movie is very family friendly, though it may be a bit boring for younger and less mature audiences. Thus my rating of 4/5, it simply isn't going to be for everyone. I would strongly suggest watching this in a small group setting where you can discuss the implications of your prejudices as your souls take sides in the debate on the innocence of Father Flynn (Hoffman). Are we capable of doing what Sister Beauvier (Streep) did? Are we guilty of doing it right now?
For more info on this movie go here www.imdb.com/title/tt0918927/