Saturday, May 30, 2009


Watched Doubt. This time around, the devil doesn’t wear Prada but a religious habit, and plays Sister Aloysius Beauvier. You can’t tell if she is a devil or the angel though she acts every bit like the devil in her role as the principal of a catholic school. She confiscates radio from students, doesn’t allow them to use ballpoint pen, checks if their nails are kept short and clean and, advices a teacher that the photo-frame should be placed right in front of the blackboard so that the teacher can see from the reflection what the children are doing behind her back. Any misbehaving student is sent to the Princi’s office.

She reminded me of school and an Italian nun we had, Sister Amelia. She used to punish anybody and everybody for anything and everything.

While she is around and if you pass by and, if you see a piece of paper on the ground, it’s your day. You have to pick it up and throw it in the nearest bin before she tells you. Else, she would catch you and not allow you to join the assembly prayers. You will be released only after you say ‘sorry’ after the prayers. If we see her, all of us used to start searching for papers on the ground and sometimes pick up non-existent litter and run towards the bin and escape. We were not allowed to hold hands and walk (it was a girls’ school) or to run and scream. We used to wear solemn faces around her, wish her ‘Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening’ and walk past (paper picking is when you are in primary) and continue playing the fool once she was out of sight.

In school, we also had these bag checking, nail checking, uniform checking, and book checking sessions. Looking back though, I have only sweet memories of my school. Sister Amelia has also passed away after years of service in that school.

Coming back to the movie, it was an amazing performance from the two lead actors, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In short, it is about a conservative nun who suspects a liberal priest of making wrong advances to a black boy and confronts him. The ending was still left to interpretation.

The drama is woven around the exploration of desperation, the vehemence of conviction and the all-encompassing and all-consuming doubt-doubt over your faith, doubt over someone else's faith.


Anonymous said...

This reminded me of my old school back in Chandigarh. While walking back to class after the assembly, we had the "checking squad" which would check everything. And if we wee in improper uniform, we would be pulled out. Discipline in one major part in all the convent schools. In kerala, since I was not in a convent school, there was no restriction. Girls wore bangle like earing, big chains and all that stuff!

AnjuGandhi said...

hey I liked the movie Devil wears prada. and you know what my daughter presented me the DVD of the same movie on mother's day.
Now that you have talked so much of Doubt. i am hooked to it and I think I will have to see it

Arunima said...

@AnjuGandhi: you must. You will llove this.

@Ramya: oh, I missed all that so, now I am weraing those big big earings. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mr. Philip Seymour Hoffman is silently (simply) incredible.

austere said...

Your review is tempting.

I went to a liberal school, non convent but with a fair and strict Gandhian as princy. I'm beholden to him.

Hair tied up (it still is :)), uniform of a reputable length, and socks an inch under knee. if you were caught breaking mangoes you'd be in trouble, or if your diary wasn't in order- rest of it was ok, and those were prim times anyway.

AmitL said...

Hi,Arunima-nice review...and,nicer memories of school days..:)Looking solemn,I guess,must have been the most difficult part,right?hahaha!!:)
Picking up non-existent litter-I had a good laugh,imagining that scene.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

ah yus two years in convent. two years of nail checking and length of uniform checking and hair checking and wot not.