Have watched this a couple of times on cable, and was wondering what your opinion was of the guilt or innocence of Father Flynn.

The author of the play (and subsequent screen play) only told the actor who played Father Flynn if he was innocent or guilty of the charges of touching Donald Miller.
However, I vote guilty. I will wait to hear from more of you before identifying my reasons.

Okay, I’ll chime in.

I don’t believe Fr. Flynn was guilty of anything with Donald Miller, other than taking him under his wing and protecting him. But from his reaction to the threat, I believe the Good Father has *some *skeletons in his closet.

I have not seen the play, and have only seen the film once.

My read also that there might be some skeletons in the closet, but that in this case he was innocent with regards to that boy and that situation.

Plus, I think he knew that once accused, it is very difficult to prove innocence; like answering that “when did you stop beating your wife?” question. It is a no-win situation and better to just move on.

I’ve seen the movie twice, but I was doing other stuff the second time and didn’t notice anything I’d missed the first time.

My guess is similar to the others: Hoffman’s character had not played hide the bishop with the altar boy, or any of the boys in the film. However, I think he may have had more complicity in the boy’s getting the wine than he admits to.

I also think that he has some serious skeletons in his closet, although I suspect that the intent may have been that those skeletons involved false accusations or accusations of his “nature” rather than any particular misbehavior.

I’m curius to learn what hints I may have missed.

I’ve only seen the film version, and I assume that Flynn was innocent - but only because Meryl Streep’s character is a vile bitch, IMHO.

Frankly, I am surprised (and a little disappointed) that the playwright actually made a decision about this plot point. Definitive guilt or innocence seems irrelevant to the piece.

Only saw the movie once several months ago, and haven’t seen any performances of the play, but I liked the film so I’ll chime in with this…

I agree with previous posters that Hoffman’s character was innocent with his conduct with the boy, but he had other skeletons in his closet and knew that any accusations would carry consequences regardless of their veracity. He seemed like a good man to me put in an impossible situation, exacerbated by Streep’s character’s need to persecute someone. He seemed uncommonly willing to allow for leniency and the need to befriend the boys, which might have gotten him into trouble all on it’s own.

I agree that Flynn wasn’t guilty of abusing the boy.

I think his skeleton might have something to do with Flynn himself being a homosexual, maybe he had an (of age) relationship with another priest or member of his old congregation. Since the mother of the boy thought he might have been gay, maybe that’s why the priest took a specific interest in helping him.

A week or so back, I was at the freight salvage store and saw a used copy (that looks brand new, possibly never played) of “Doubt” for 2 bucks. I had heard that it was a good film, and so I grabbed it and took it home.

A couple of days later, I saw that it was a Blu-Ray disc, (which I have no way of watching) and I now dont feel like searching for a receipt to get my two dollars back.

It has been sitting around the house ever since, so if any Doper wants it, I will be happy to send it off to you and hopefully you can enjoy it for dozens of years to come, where it will become a treasured family keepsake.

Feel free to let me know, and I will get it in the mail in the next few days…


PS—I am serious, anyone who wants it is more than welcome to it!!!

I hadn’t thought of the possibility of Flynn himself being gay while watching the film but it makes sense in retrospect. It certainly makes his actions logical in context.

+1 I think he shared his personal story with the boy, under the confidentiality of the confessional, to help him, but hadn’t done anything inappropriate with him/ His behaviour makes the most sense to me this way, been awhile since I saw it though

There’s a reason the play’s not called “Certainty”.

Stink Fish Pot:

May I ask where you learned this bit of information?

I’d be happy to take you up on the offer. This thread makes me want to rewatch this movie. Do you have PayPal or something so I can pay for shipping costs? PM me, and I’ll send you my contact info.

I saw it when it was released, and I was pretty sure Fr. Flynn was guilty. I didn’t see Streep’s character as searching for a offense to persecute, but rather had an incredibly strong sense of obligation to her students.

As an aside, I cannot think of a more deserving Sup. Actress nomination than for the mother’s 3 minutes of screen time. What an incredibly powerful and unbelievably well-delivered performance with so little script and time to work with.

It may work on both levels, but the title of the film isn’t referring to Flynn’s innocence/guilt, it’s referring to Streep’s faith.

Sure. I read it on IMDB, I think in the trivia section of Doubt’s webpage.

I will be back to give my reasons, but a couple of postings in this thread have given me a couple of things to think about… things I hadn’t thought of.

You got it, and dont worry about postage, it’s on me…

I will be in touch to get your address, and I hope you enjoy the show—Matthew

There was enough ambiguity to see innocence or guilt. My reasons for voting guilty (none of the reasons standing alone are enough to convict, but taken together tip the balance for me)

  1. His resignation without fighting Sister Aloysius. This tells me that either he did something with Donald Miller, or he had skeletons in his past that he knew would come out if she dug for them. Her bluff wouldn’t have worked if there was no parent to find in one of his two previous parrishes if he were innocent. So, at the bare minimum, I think he did molest a child somewhere along the way (even if in this case he was not guilty of touching Donald Miller)

  2. Donald Miller and the wine. Two things here. One, Father Flynn suggested that he was caught drinking wine by Mr. McGuinn. But this was not true. Mr. McGuinn knew that Donald drank some wine, but didn’t know how he came to drink it. Two, Donald showed no signs of being sick (drunk) before being called to the rectory. Only when he came back did he show signs of being sick, and Sister James also smelled wine on his breath at this time. I would think that if he drank wine before class, he would have been feeling sick before being called to the rectory, not after. And I don’t believe Donald would have access to the altar wine to booze it up between classes (but that’s just a gut feeling on my part).

  3. The comment made by Father Flynn when he was questioned by Sister Aloysius. Instead of answering her, he asked her if she had ever committed a mortal sin. When she said “yes”, his answer was that they were both the same and that whatever he had done was in the healing hands of his confessor. A very strange answer given the circumstances.

  4. At the end of the last meeting between Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius, when she was pushing him out, he said “there are things I cannot say… things beyond your knowledge.”

  5. The first time the topic was discussed in Sister Aloysius’ office, he said he was uncomfortable. When asked why, his reply was “Why do you think?” Again, another odd answer.

These things together convinced me that he was guilty of developing an inappropriate relationship with Donald Miller.
Other hints at this were the t-shirt being put in the locker, the recoiling that a couple of the other boys had when approached or near Father Flynn, and the way he held Donald Miller’s head in the middle of the hall when his books were dumped. It was uncomfortably long.

The one thing I didn’t think of that was discussed in this thread was the idea that Father Flynn was a homosexual, and he recognized that Donald Miller was one as well. Perhaps his kindness to Donald was along these lines, helping him through a difficult time, and nothing more.

But I think Sister Aloysius was right. A dog that bites is a dog that bites. And even if he didn’t do anything to Donald Miller, he would eventually prey on another child if he indeed had a history. Which he must have, since he didn’t fight Sister Aloysius. Based on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, he had all the power in any fight with any nun.

It’s funny, I thought Flynn was innocent until Mother Streep played her bluff and Flynn relented. I thought for sure he had done some dirty deeds with kids in his last parish.

I had not, until now, given pause to the thought that Flynn may have had an adult sexual relationship(with a man?) and that was what scared him. Am I to believe now that the point of the film is to question the boogeyman who always makes us think anyone who engages children’s trust are child molesters?

What if Flynn did have sexual encounters with adults, and never thought of children that way? Yes, that would have certainly been quite scandalous in the sixties, but not a hanging offense. Is the point of the film to question antiquated sexual theories?

I have no idea what the point is, and it drives me crazy.

I thought **Lobohan **made a good point above, which is what I really hadn’t considered. But as I understand the church as it was (and possibly still is), her threat wouldn’t have worked unless a child was involved. If he had a consentual sexual relationship with another adult man, I don’t see how that would ever come out. Certainly no parent would be able to come forward.

I think the point was to make the viewer realize that doubt is a very powerful thing, and since we don’t know the facts, we’ll never know for sure of his innocence or guilt.

Munch, I tried to send you a personal message, but was unable to----I know that Dopes are able to e-mail me thru this board, so when you get the chance send me your mailing info and you will have you new (used) Blu-Ray in the mail within the next day or so…