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School Ties
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Reviews & Ratings for
School Ties More at IMDbPro »

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30 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

"Is it worth breaking tradition"?

Author: Shapster11
6 August 2003

It's a line the headmaster of the school asks the star quarterback David Greene when he catches him praying at church after curfew but praying in observance of the Jewish new year. Greene's reply to the Headmaster of this Christian Prep Academy is..."mine or yours". This is the essence of the storyline. A Christian Prep Academy in New England is tired of mediocrity in football and losing to their arch rival so they compromise their admission standards by recruiting a brilliant student athlete from Pa. The problem isn't that David Greene doesn't measure up academically, it is that he is Jewish.

Soon after coming to school Greene realizes his classmates disdain and ridicule for Jews. They scorn them and make stereotype remarks that bother Greene but he is determined to fit in. Eventually his classmates and friends discover his secret and this is as far as I go. See the movie and see how David and his friends handle the situation.

Fine performances are put in by Brendan Fraser, as David Greene. You'll be astonished at the youthful talent in the movie as really good performances are put in by Matt Damon, his real life buddy Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell, and all the others. I really enjoyed the story, the time setting, and the substance of the message.

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27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

-

Author: davidjmccrea from London
6 July 2001

Nowadays people only watch this movie for one reason and that is to see Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck before they began starring in the high budget blockbusters of "The Mummy Returns", "Batman and Robin", "Saving Private Ryan" and "Armageddon". The film is undoubtably better than all of the four mentioned above as rather than relying on Special Effects the four get a chance to act. Damon (the bad guy) is possibly most impressive but O'Donnell (the good guy), Fraser (the new guy) and Affleck (the cool guy) also give arguably the finest performances of their careers to date. The producers of School Ties have a lot to thank their casting director for 8/10

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26 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

How can we miss the import of casual "joking"?

Author: AEEd (surphur@netzero.net) from San Francisco
12 January 2003

I've read the first 30 comments about this movie. Not once did anyone comment on the reasons why Greene (Fraser) never mentioned his religion -- the casual "joking" and "common knowledge" comments heard in the bathroom. Is it any less a matter of prejudice to use the phrase "I jewed him down" than it would be to use the term "kike"? Is telling a derogatory joke about homosexuals any more offensive than calling us "fag"? This is the only movie I can think of right off-hand other than "The Laramie Project" that makes the point that casual speech can be used as a form of maintaining prejudice. For this reason alone, "School Ties" is an important film. As a survivor of a 1964 prep school much like the one in the movie, I can tell you that the scenes and attitudes are accurately presented. I found the characters to be a little one-sided, yes. It's rare to meet any person who is as totally focused and determined as the Greene presented here. Nor is any prejudiced person or group normally so totally open in expression as the "good old boys" we see in this production. But, that's the most impressive way to show the public just how bad it is to be bigoted or to be the target of bigotry. For the production and acting values I'd give this film 6 on a scale of 10. For the "pre-star" status performances of Fraser, O'Donell, Damon, and, yes, even Affleck, I'd give it a 7.5 on a scale of 10. For the message I'd give it 9.5 on that same scale. "School Ties" is a movie that can be enjoyed by anyone who sees it. For "star followers", it has a cool four New Idols in "pre-star" roles to add to their tape collections. For the activists in the world it is a stark and dramatic example of how prevalent unrecognised bigotry is in our society.

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21 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

great drama with so many great actors making there debuts.

Author: Jeff Colvin (tweetter22@aol.com) from baton rouge
13 January 2000

I see this movie every once and a while on USA or TNT, I never watch all of it, but a few days ago I finally did and it was absolutely wonderful. It makes you wanna watch it again. Though some parts were slightly disturbing, the movie was still excellent. "School Ties" is set in the late 50s early 60s i do believe and a jewish kid goes to a basic prep school, all white, all Christian. He is a successful football player and makes many friends and is quite popular. But has to keep his religion in secret in fear of mockery and torment of his fellow classmates. Starring this wonderful cast, Brendan Fraser in his first major role, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck back when they were young and innocent. Before they had Oscar nominations starring in low-budget dramas. This movie is excellent, I give "School Ties" 10/10!

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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Low key but poignant film

7/10
Author: rosscinema (rosscinema@comcast.net) from Oceanside, Ca.
1 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the things that this film does so well is point out how people make ethnic jokes totally unaware that some of the people around them may be of the same ethnicity. This gives the central character the opportunity to get a good look at what type of person that they really are and how to react to it. Story takes place in the 1950's and is about David Greene (Brendan Fraser) who is Jewish and from Scranton and and he gets a scholarship to a good prep school in the New England area and he decides not to tell anyone about his being Jewish. He's recruited to be the new quarterback on the football team and once he arrives he meets some of his new dorm buddies. His roommate is Chris Reece (Chris O'Donnell) and the person he is replacing at quarterback is Charlie Dillon (Matt Damon) who likes to tell people that he is going steady with the beautiful Sally Wheeler (Amy Locane). David does well in his studies and becomes a star on the team and gets along with everyone but once he meets Sally sparks fly.

*****SPOILER ALERT*****

Both David and Sally like each other instantly and soon Charlie discovers what is going on and becomes furious. Charlie looks at David as the person who took not only his position on the team but also the guy who took his girl. Then he overhears from a former alumni that David is Jewish and he uses this to try and get even. David now has to hear ugly racist jokes and find Nazi slogans tacked up in his room but he also loses Sally who could never date a Jew. While taking a final in one of his classes he notices Charlie cheating and later the teacher finds the cheat notes on the floor and he tells the students that they must find the culprit themselves or they all flunk. David tells Charlie to tell the truth but he uses this to tell everyone that it was in fact David who cheated.

This film is directed by Robert Mandel and the screenplay is written by Dick Wolf who bases this story on his own exploits as a young man in prep school. We have all seen films dealing with racism before and while this doesn't have anything to say that you haven't heard before it does do a splendid job of pointing out how racism can exist even when it's meant as a harmless joke or gesture. But things do get ugly in this film after David's true identity is revealed and here he learns that some of the people he thought were friends are really just bigots. Another good thing that this film brings to a familiar story is a cast of young actors that breath freshness into their roles. Fraser is particularly good in the lead role and while he has been blasted by some for some of the films he has made he does pop up in a good role every so often and this was his first really impressive performance. Damon also gives a good performance and his character really becomes a disgusting jerk later in the film but this also marks the first film that Damon and Ben Affleck appear in together. This is a well made film with a poignant script that in it's own low key manner is quite effective in what it wants to say and the performances by these young and talented actors are all impressive.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Jewish middle-class boy gets into elite-highschool, and gets into trouble when he hides the fact that he's jewish.

9/10
Author: PM-19 from Eindhoven, Holland
7 August 1999

Great drama with even greater performances from the relatively young and unknown cast. Especially Brendan Fraser's acting is really intense. One of his first roles, and in my opinion his best. He was not yet as famous as he is now ( after, for example, a film as 'the Mummy' ), but I think that his acting never had the intensity and credibility of that part.(In fact, I was shocked when I discovered that it was in fact Fraser in the horrible " George of the jungle' ! How could a fine actor like him accept such a terrible role ? ) Also Matt Damon (also an unknown actor at that time )and the other young actors are great. A terrific, subtle drama !

9 out of 10 !

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A touching reference to racial segregation in 1950's America

8/10
Author: Chris Camrik from Australia
31 May 2006

A brilliant 'coming-of-age' style film, in the tradition of "Dead Poet's Society". Starring a bevy of familiar faces during their up-and-coming phase: Matt Damon, Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, Cole Hauser and Amy Locane, this brilliant flick explores the challenges of a young, Jewish hopeful, David Greene (Fraser) who hides his religion from a group of bigots upon entering a prestigious preparatory school. Unaware of his identity, the students welcome him into the fold, until a prejudiced student (Damon) discloses his identity after discovering a romantic friendship developing between his own girlfriend (Amy Locane) and Greene. When one of the students cheats on his final exam - and Greene is accused - the class is requested to deliberate on a verdict, forcing them to choose between their own personal prejudices and the struggle to be impartial. Brilliantly acted and directed. Add this one to your collection!

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A story that needs to be told

Author: menaka
4 November 2002

I liked this movie the first time I watched it,which is probably why I have watched it twice since then.Seeing future stars in a small time movie was a bonus but it was the story that appealed to me.Anti-Semitism was once the "in-thing",just as lynching African Americans was once accepted and condoned.It's a sad and shameful part of our history,a part that we'd like to forget but we most definitely shouldn't...because if we do we just might repeat ourselves,and nobody wants to do that...do they?

I think "School Ties" gets the point across.Sure the script has its flaws,but which script doesn't?The story is an important one.Each time we watch it we"ll remember and that's a good thing,'cause we just might forget and that would be dangerous.

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A movie with a great message- no matter what religion

Author: ijrichter from Mexico
9 October 2002

This movie was really touching and very important to me, it's the story of a Jewish boy who goes to a private High School, and has to hide his identity to be accepted. It was really shocking to see how they treated Jewish people back then, I'm also Jewish, and I would hate to be in David's position, to have to hide my identity to fit in. When i heard Brendan Fraser played David, I wasn't very sure about how the movie was going to be, but i was surprised to see what a good actor he is, he pulls it off really well. Matt Damon also gives a great performance, as a guy who is jealous of David and uses the information of him being Jewish to get back. Chris O'Donnell plays David's roomate, and the only guy who stands by him till the end. With the cast, the script, and the valuable message this movie gives about religion and acceptance, makes a movie that shines like no other has. 9.5/10(for the lack of success)

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie, Great Actors

Author: Ryan Harder (hotshotharder@hotmail.com) from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
10 October 2002

I just watched School Ties recently and I was quite impressed with it. The acting was excellent as 4 previously unknown actors made their big breaks, Brendan Fraser (pre-George Of The Jungle) is awesome as Jewish boy David Green. Chris O'Donnell (pre-Vertical Limit) plays the role of Reece with good convictions and Ben Affleck & Matt Damon (pre-Good Will Hunting) are great. Matt plays the role of jealous bigot Charlie with good character and conviction. It's just a shame that Ben Affleck didn't have much of a speaking role. For those of you who are fans of Fraser, Affleck, Damon & O'Donnell, this movie is worth checking out 8 out of 10 in my books

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