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Disgrace (2008)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 June 2009 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,366 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 36 user | 84 critic | 18 from

After having an affair with a student, a Cape Town professor moves to the Eastern Cape, where he gets caught up in a mess of post-apartheid politics.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Haines ...
Fiona Press ...
Bev Shaw
Antoinette Engel ...
Antonio Fisher ...
Sidney - Student
Isabella De Villiers ...
Mrs. Cundell - Student
Cindy Mkaza ...
Mrs. Mbeti - Student
Liezel De Kock ...
Student Director
Charles Tertiens ...
Mr. Isaacs (as David Denis)
Paula Arundell ...
Dr Farodia Rassool
Anne Looby ...
David Ritchie ...
Manas Mathbane


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 KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What is a mad heart? See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, some violence and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

18 June 2009 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Desgracia  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,615 (USA) (18 September 2009)


$66,643 (USA) (2 October 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


'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 »


[first lines]
Professor David Lurie: I haven't heard from my daughter.
Soraya: Still living with a woman.
Professor David Lurie: Yes, still a lesbian. Still on the farm. She thinks it's safe there.
Soraya: No where's safe. Too many people with nothing to do but cause trouble. How's work?
Professor David Lurie: They look through me when I speak. Forget my name.
Soraya: There's no respect anymore. Have you missed me?
Professor David Lurie: I miss you all the time.
See more »


2 Tempo di Minuetto
from Sonate for Piano and Violin in E minor K 304
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Natalie Zhu (piano) and Hilary Hahn (violin)
See more »

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Faithful to a Fault
12 October 2008 | by (United Arab Emirates) – See all my reviews

Disgrace is based on J.M. Coetzee's prize winning novel. Its central character is a an English professor in South Africa and his relationship with a number of women including one of his students, his daughter and a lover. It's about race, sex, revenge, redemption, moral ambiguities, what is right and what is wrong; above all it's about the complex nation that is South Africa.

Having read the novel, I can say that the film is very faithful to the book. Perhaps if the movie can be faulted it is because the film adaptation is too faithful. We can clearly hear the author's voice in the movie but not the director's. It just does not resonate as it should have done considering the source material. This by no means to say Disgrace is not a good film; in fact it is a very good film, finely acted (especially by Malkovich) and well directed. But it is not a great film and one feels that if Steve Jacobs, the director had perhaps not remained so faithful to the novel, the film would have risen from the level of a very competent and faithful adaptation to a great and perhaps even a classic film.

34 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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