- Director: Tony Kaye
- Based on the book: no
- Cast: Adrien Brody, Christina Hendricks, Marcia Gay Harden, James Caan, Lucy Liu, Sami Gayle, Louis Zorich, Betty Kaye
- Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
- Adrien Brody – Cadillac Records, Darjeeling Limited, The Pianist, King Kong, Bread and Roses, Liberty Heights, The Thin Red Line
- Christina Hendricks – Madmen, Ginger and Rosa
- Marcia Gay Harden – The Mist, Into the Wild, The Dead Girl, American Dreamz, Mona Lisa’s Smile, Mystic River, Pollack, Meet Joe Black, The First Wives Club, Miller’s Crossing
- James Caan – Dogville, Misery, Dick Tracy
- Lucy Liu – Kill Bill 1 & 2, Chicago, Hill Street Blues, The X Files
- Louis Zorich – Fiddler on the Roof
- Why? Adrien Brody
- Seen: 4 November 2017
Henry Barthes (Brody) is a substitute high school English teacher. He’s now in a school of underachieving foul-mouthed aggressive students. He’s good with the kids but has serious personal problems, including a dying grandfather and the trauma of his mother’s suicide when he was a child. He tries to help an abused young prostitute Erica (Gayle).
In an effective mix of cartoon, documentary-like interviews and powerful every-day drama we get glimpses of threatening, demanding parents, teen-agers being torn apart by the vicious gender roles they’re being forced into, teachers who need to cope somehow – or not – with an impossible soul-killing work situation and loveless private lives.
The acting is superb, all of them. Brody is brilliant, at least as good as in The Pianist. It’s one of the most heart-wrenching films I’ve seen about the demons we all carry, about failing, about not being enough, about trying.
5 * of 5