Doubting Thomas Image

Doubting Thomas

By Bobby LePire | June 13, 2018

Tom is startled to discover that Liam is black. Tom is Caucasian, as is his wife. Ron though, is African-American, which sows seeds of doubt in Tom’s mind about who is the actual father. Jen offers to take a paternity test to put Tom at ease. He decides that is unnecessary and accepts this random act of fate. Or does he? Rumors swirl around the office about his baby, at outings the married duo have to constantly explain that Liam isn’t adopted and Tom is the father, and throughout all this, Ron and Jen seem to be getting closer. Tom’s life is on the brink of collapse when secrets are revealed that change how Tom and Jen see their family and lives.

Will McFadden not only stars as Tom but he also wrote the screenplay. It is his first full-length script and is remarkable in every way. On a break from work, Tom and Ron are playing basketball. Tom questions how an African-American person can grow up in the United States and not touch a basketball until recently. It is small touches like this, where one doesn’t even realize they are bigoted that most effectively drive home the point. The tension and drama stem from Tom discovering that maybe he isn’t as progressive as he once believed he was. The deeply rooted biases one might not even realize they possess until push comes to shove play out naturally, truthfully, as the story progresses.

“…one of the best written moments of any movie all year…”

Jen’s reaction to the secrets withheld from her is equally as truthful. A moment with her dad, when he describes a time, shortly before she was born, that he might not have stayed with her mom is heartrending. It is Ron’s takedown of Tom’s ill-advised allegations of an affair that the most emotionally devastating. I won’t spoil anything, but there’s a speech in which Ron describes people’s reactions to his existence that is one of the best written moments of any movie all year.

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  1. Thomas says:

    Doesn’t the fact that Tom declines the paternity test, yet decides to act on his suspicions against Ron feel contrived to anyone here?
    Yeah, humans aren’t “completely logical”, but without Tom’s decision to accept the child’s complexion as a quirk of fate instead of a red flag, the movie as it stands wouldn’t be as dramatic or interesting.
    Why doesn’t Ron point out Tom’s stupidity, or Jen insist on the test anyway?
    Some small changes that could make this better are:
    -Jen refuses the test, insisting that Tom needs to trust her if they have any hope for a happy partnership or a similar rationale; this ratchets up Tom’s internal conflict, while keeping the situation engaging and more relatable
    -Reveal that Jen has Black ancestry earlier to keep things open to interpretation
    -Showcase Tom’s racism subtly and organically, with it being informed by the events preceding; there will be some uncomfortable empathy between him and the viewer regarding potential infidelity, while his emerging prejudice creates conflict on and off the screen
    -Make the conclusion ambiguous, because whether or not Ron is the father, Tom conciously destroys close relationships in paranoia and rage over the (admittedly far more probable, realistically speaking) possibility that he has been betrayed by Jen and Ron.
    I’ll admit, I haven’t actually watched this movie; I just like Zach Cregger and read about it. Maybe all my points are actually addressed in the movie.
    Have a good one

  2. Shauni says:

    The biggest takeaway is examining our hearts and minds to be more racially compassionate. I just found it amazing that finding out your true identity could be so heartbreaking for all parties involved. Having said that, without giving too many details about the film, people should definitely watch this film. Very well written and thought provoking.

  3. Shakeenah Fentis says:

    I am grateful I watched this very, well thought out, movie. It shines a light on the racism that is systemic in White people’s subconscious and conscious minds, leading you to ponder life, humans and race consciousness in a way that touches the heart. All of the acting was impressive (including the priceless expressions of the infant who must have had lots of questions to ask as well, but could not verbalize them yet!) Perhaps this movie will ignite more meaningful conversations on racism in this world… or at least more meaningful introspection that leads to positive change, by those whom are privileged simply by the color of their skin.

  4. Travis Morgan says:

    “where one doesn’t even realize they are bigoted” – I came here looking for a review of the movie to see if it was worth watching. I got that, and I appreciate it, but I just couldn’t leave without addressing your comment in the review. I would argue that Tom’s stereotypical thought that all black kids play basketball in America is absolutely _not_ a bigoted opinion. First, it’s not derogatory and second, it’s not unreasonable (75% of pro basketball players are black). And yet, you and a lot of millennials I know would classify it as such. And consequently, “bigot” becomes so watered-down that anything that isn’t “PC” is considered “bigoted”. I’m going to watch the film, but if it portrays sterotypes (even those that are not negative) as “bigotry”, it’s going to be hard to sit through. There is real bigotry in the world, let’s not give it such a vast sea of meaning to hide in please. That way, when I hear you call out bigotry, I will pay attention because I’ll know you don’t mean a reasonable assumption based on facts, regardless if it is sterotypical.

    • Paula says:

      Thomas’ beliefs seem to be a larger part of the systemic racism we are all taught, not just white people. I am a 6 ft tall black American female that is as unatheletic as possible in skills (in looks many have said I have a swimmer’s body) and I am not the greatest dancer either. I modeled instead. Sports, shoes, or any of the stereotypes Hollywood floats out there, never applied to me and/or my black family. I was valedictorian of the #1 high school in the USA at the time of graduation. I listen to a lot of Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, The Doobie Brothers, and The Eagles to name a few musicians I love. And I am a member of a predominantly white sorority (DG)…. Having said that, I got asked by black people all of the time about my black card. I was asked by scouts for the Atlanta Dream basketball team about tryouts. There are numerous times people, ESPECIALLY white people, made assumptions that were COMPLETELY untrue about me based on stereotypes about black people. Assumptions and questions that my counterpart – a tall, attractive, smart white woman would not most
      likely be subjected to. Fellow tall white girls would not be asked if she was into basketball… even if she was athletic! They would ask her if she was into volleyball, modeling, and many other things if they bothered to try to make assumptions.

      If someone would had to guess who they thought was the smartest in the class or school, they probably would have chosen a white or Asian male student, although throughout school it was usually me. Just because a group predominates a certain thing, to assume they are into this or that is CRAZY. Most of horse racing jockeys out there are short white men, but it WOULD NOT cross my mind to assume a short white male is even into horse racing?

    • Bernard says:

      More than 90% of Hockey Players are white. Would it reasonable to say that most whites play hockey? Or would that be a bigoted statement? Surely, most white kids do not play professional hockey and most black kids do not play professional basketball. It’s bigoted.

    • Deb Turk says:

      I agree with Travis Morgan. The basketball remark was not bigoted. Stereotypical, yes. Hateful, negative, no. I also don’t like the way Thomas was made out to be a really bad guy. I’m Black. I would be thrown off quite a bit if my baby was born with blond hair and blue eyes. I think that the movie was really unrealistic in that no one else (the key players) voiced any sort of doubt. EVERYBODY was totally with it. So perfect and accepting. What is this, This Is Us?

  5. Mary Jackson-Freeny says:

    I cannot wait to see this film. Please let me know when it will be shown in Los Angeles. I see this film as a catalyst to change.

    • MovieMaker says:

      It’s playing at Arena Cinelounge, 6464 Sunset Blvd.
      Through tomorrow.
      2 more showings tonight and 3 tomorrow.

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