Cape Town professor David Lurie blatantly refuses to defend himself for an affair with a colored student whom he gave a passing grade for an exam she didn't even attend. Dismissed, he moves to his daughter Lucy's farm, which she runs under most disadvantaged terms, favoring the black locals. Yet rowdies, unprovoked, violently rob and abuse them both. Lucy refuses to fight back, unlike David, who is surprised by his own altruistic potential. Written by
'Disgrace' won the Best Narrative Film (The Black Pearl) Award at the Middle East Film Festival 2008. See more »
The notices in the lecture theater "Mid-term test" and "Casanova - your time is over" appear to have been written by the same person. Given the professionalism adopted by the university in its investigation of Mr Laurie it does not seem plausible to suggest that one person (say, a teacher's aide) wrote both notices. See more »
Troubling stuff, but a troubled attempt to get into it...
Wow, what a troubled movie, and troubling. At the very very bottom, I think it's about accepting things that are horrible because you have to, but also about accepting things that you don't understand, also because you have to. That's a hard thing to do, and the lead character, a literature professor played by John Malkovich, is the kind of man who analyzes and understands with great nuance almost everything.
But things go wrong, and he is trying to help his grown lesbian daughter, who in her submissiveness all around, even to him, lets him fail through no fault of her own. The world of South Africa, where whites are bound to gradually lose their place, their land, their well being in a shift back to the original black inhabitants, is not easy to grasp, and the movie, based on J.M. Coetzee's novel, tries. Noble, frustrating, at times unconvincing, "Disgrace" is redeemed (as a movie) by the professor's seeming higher sense of values. We cling to his feelings for justice and for his daughter even as we find him personally despicable. "Disgrace" is also redeemed (as a concept) by the very strong currents of the book, dealing with what might be the most problematic issue of our times--how to get along, how to coexist and when not to, how to understand and accept and sometimes refuse to accept.
Great stuff, good movie.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?