Mike: I'd been looking forward to see something new from director Tony Kaye, and heard some interesting things when the film played festivals. Plus, teacher movies are usually pretty interesting, and Kaye's take on Dangerous Minds or Stand and Deliver would be fascinating.
It is, to a degree. The usual new-teacher-comes-to-school-and-makes-a-difference storyline is present, but the new teacher doesn't exactly bring a lot of hope. In fact, the whole movie will make you feel hopeless. As a portrayal of the present-day US school system and all its problems, it's fascinating, and the many stars peppered throughout the production (I think every single teacher is someone you'll recognize) make it memorable. But the film seems to be too busy making statements about our schools and the focus on the storyline is lost. Worth a watch, but wait for cable.
Erica: I didn't think this movie was that great. I do think it is an accurate portrayal of teachers in school systems as well as students in our school systems today. I kind of lost interest relatively quickly once I knew the basic premise. I am not an Adrien Brody fan so that also kind of turned me off. It was a film festival darling but if you do decide to check this movie out, wait for Netflix.