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Oleanna (1994)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  4 November 1994 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 2,291 users  
Reviews: 102 user | 20 critic

Student Carol visits Professor John to discuss how she failed his course but the discussion takes awkward turn.

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Title: Oleanna (1994)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John
...
Carol
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Storyline

A two character movie, involving a college professor, John, who is confronted by a female student, Carol, who is failing his course. The two spend a long time talking to each other, during which time John says a few things that can be taken the wrong way. After the night the two spent talking, John is slapped with a sexual harassment accusation by Carol. After more accusations from Carol, John's career as a teacher begins to fall apart. This forces John with a choice on how to handle the situation, and the results make up for a shattering ending to the movie. Written by Justin Sharp <rainman88@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Whatever Side You Take, You're Wrong. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

4 November 1994 (USA)  »

Box Office

Gross:

$124,693 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The woman singing over the end credits is Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, who originated the role of Carol on stage alongside William H. Macy. See more »

Goofs

When the professor says "Oh, my God." near the end of the movie right after striking his student and shortly before sitting down, for a short time the microphone hanging from the roof is visible at the top right corner of the screen. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
John: Oh, my God.
Carol: Yes, that's right.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The "school song" (written by Mamet) played during the credits is sung by Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon who first performed the role of Carol on stage. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Angels Revenge (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Long Ago And Far Away
Words by David Mamet
Music by Rebecca Pidgeon
Soloist: Steve Goldstein (as Steven Goldstein)
© Copyright 1994 Dwight Street Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oleanna: the sham promised land behind Academia?
20 August 2007 | by (California) – See all my reviews

One writer perceptively suggests that the term "Oleanna" was used to describe swampland being sold as prime real estate.

I think the primary context in which the title "Oleanna" is to be understood appears in a "folk" stanza preceding Mamet's published edition of the play:

"Oh to be in 'Oleanna,'/ That's where I would rather be,/ Than be bound in Norway/ And drag the chains of slavery."

And so, Oleanna is a version of a Utopian promised land, and in the context of the play, the gateway to this better tomorrow is through the halls of Academia. Susan, the victim of her own false expectations of how the university is to transform her existence, repeatedly mentions the struggle she had to endure in order to get into college. For her, academic success is central to her vision of a better life. John, the pedantic professor, also sees Academia as the means to a comfortable, upper middle class existence with his new house, wife, and son. All he needs to do is make tenure, and his future is secured.

However, John presents himself as an academic bad-boy who debunks the very Academia with which he is trying to secure his comfortable future. This ridicule of the academic process strikes at the heart of Carol's dreams of a better future through education. She quite rightly sees that the professor is trying to have it both ways--playing the academic outsider while trying to kiss-up to the tenure committee in order to ensure his cushy new home in the suburbs. When someone's dreams are threatened, they become angry and strike out, however they can.

This is a brilliant movie. Anyone working in a high school or university, and anyone contemplating an academic career, needs to watch it, and allow it to soak deep into the structure of the brain. Perhaps that academic career isn't such a good idea, after all. Maybe that utopian real estate is really swampland. At any rate, one needs to be very, very careful when dealing with students.


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