JOBLO'S MOVIE REVIEWS

SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Bad Education (2004)
star Printer-Friendly version
Review Date: November 15, 2004
Director: Pedro Almodóvar
Writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Producers: Pedro Almodóvar, Agustín Almodóvar
Actors:
Gael García Bernal
Fele Martínez
Daniel Giménez Cacho
Plot:
A young boy is sexually violated by a priest, who not only takes the boy under his wing, but also makes sure to rid the child of his one main friend in school. Years later, we meet up with the two boys, in two very different stages of their lives, as each attempts to grapple with the experiences from their past, their own vivid imaginations and their ultimate decisions to live, love or die.
Critique:
Nothing particularly memorable or spectacular, Pedro Almodovar's latest doesn't bring all that much new to the table or entice/delight in any overt way, despite some solid performances, mucho color, brilliant cinematography and a couple of racy homosexual love entangles. Maybe I've seen one too many "tranny" flicks or movies which center around priests who either molest or abuse their altar boys, but I found myself rather ho-hum about this film's central subject matter, even though Almodovar does manage to spruce things up somewhat with transitional decades through which we get to know the characters. I also didn't connect with any of the characters in the movie, and that's not necessarily because of their background or inclinations, but rather the fact that they didn't particularly bond with me on any kind of emotional level. Maybe it's because I was a little confused as the film plays with the idea of identities over the decades (if I'm not sure which character is which, why/how am I supposed to care about them?) and I wasn't exactly sure who was who until the film's third act, or maybe I just didn't think these folks were interesting enough to care about, but either way, I simply did not and that's the bottom line. One humorous character played perfectly by Javier Camara was fun though, but he wasn't in the film for all that long.

On the other hand, the film looks beautiful with all of the vibrancy of the colors jumping right out at you, and includes a couple of interesting stylistic choices (a slow-motion shot of a priest jumping for a soccer ball and the overhead shot of his pupils exercising in the morning were choice), but it also felt creepily "pedophilic" at times, with one particularly uncomfortable sequence featuring the lead priest playing guitar to a 10-year old as the child sings "Moon River" with other half-naked young boys splashing around in the background-reminded me of the infamous Larry Clark. An implied graphic sex sequence (one man blows another man from an overhead shot) as well as couple of other implications of the sort, are also scattered about, so for anyone who has a problem with kids jerking each other off in the movies, here's your chance to bail. In the end though, I sat, I watched the film, I was never bored, but I was never particularly blown away or engaged by the entire affair either. From the press notes, there seemed to be some emphasis on the kids' love for movies, but I can't say that this aspect of the screenplay was exploited all that much (if, at all). What we get instead is a sordid melodramatic tale of a handful of intertwined gay, Latin men who were abused as children and whose experiences lead to them to particular adult paths of right and wrong. I think this film might interest those who can relate more with the lead characters, or at the very least, folks who love Almodovar's previous work and don't feel as though they've had their fair share of this type of subject matter. I personally did not connect to it.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or