Disgrace (2008)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 June 2009 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,440 users   Metascore: 71/100
Reviews: 38 user | 85 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

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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5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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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 »


When David confronts Lucy at the impound yard, he pulls her left arm away from the steering wheel. In the next shot, it has returned. 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 »


References Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) 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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User Reviews

Troubling stuff, but a troubled attempt to get into it...
6 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Disgrace (2008)

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.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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