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School of Life (2004)

 -  Comedy | Drama | Short  -  June 2004 (UK)
6.2
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 108 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Stanley is a student who turns down his friend Gordon's invitation to cut class, saying that maybe today they'll learn something, maybe today the school will teach something. Sure enough, ... See full summary »

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Title: School of Life (2004)

School of Life (2004) on IMDb 6.2/10

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Stanley is a student who turns down his friend Gordon's invitation to cut class, saying that maybe today they'll learn something, maybe today the school will teach something. Sure enough, once Stanley's teacher gets the attention of the unruly class, she tells them that this lesson is the most important one they'll ever study - the meaning of life. She passes out a pamphlet, but runs out as she gets to Stanley, telling him that his surly seat mate, Garth, will have to share the booklet with him. She leaves, and Garth hordes the material. What's Stanley to do? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Comedy | Drama | Short

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June 2004 (UK)  »

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£8,000 (estimated)
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Engaging but the failing in depth left the ending feeling quite unsatisfying
26 March 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Young Stanley is bullied at school and can only dream of the day when he can turn the tables. In a lesson his teacher Miss Given declares this the most valuable lesson the class will likely ever have and Stanley is excited by the prospect. However when bully Garth sits next to him he finds himself cut out of the class and unable to share the lesson material.

OK, so I can see what the film is saying and perhaps I can go further and read in some interesting lessons to be had about the lessons of being bullied and perhaps the importance of overcoming adversity in forming character and so on. These themes are not what I have a problem with. What I had a problem with was that the film didn't really deliver very much very well. The build up is good but the ending is blunt and a tad unsatisfying. I can imagine it was hoped that it would be punchy and arresting but for me it felt like a bit of a bad punchline and had no substance behind it to convince me otherwise.

Polonsky's direction is good whether it is the setting of each scene or the fluid motion through the school – it is just a shame that somewhere something has happened to Smyth's script and I'm not sure it is was him or the director that didn't make it work. Doolan seems comfortable in the lead role while Lynch adds her name and presence in a small role.

An engaging film then but one that abruptly failed to work for me in the split second it took to end. A shame then because I was drawn in but the substance isn't there (or isn't brought out that well) and as a result the end feels like a punch line to a joke rather than a point that hits the viewer.


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