It’s quite a while since I was left speechless at the end of a film (I think the last time was Under The Skin).
I really struggled with the first two-thirds of a film, with the bullying, with the abuse, with the fact that a teacher at any level was allowed to get away with such behaviour.
And then (spoiler alert, don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the film) the incredible finale just drew everything together and amazingly turned it all upside down. In fact, it all happened in just couple of frames – where the father peeps through a crack in the door and sees his son on stage. Something in that swift shot changed my whole view of the film. Not of the initial behaviour, but of how complicit the student was in the process.
I know J K Simmons is getting all the plaudits for his performance as the teacher, and it is definitely a strong one. But Miles Teller as the student is equally as good, in a smaller and therefore perhaps overlooked way.