125 user 139 critic

Detachment (2011)

Not Rated | | Drama | 1 February 2012 (France)
2:05 | Trailer

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A substitute teacher who drifts from classroom to classroom finds a connection to the students and teachers during his latest assignment.



3,994 ( 255)
8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betty Kaye ...
Mr. Mathias
Dr. Hart


Detachment is a chronicle of three weeks in the lives of several high school teachers, administrators and students through the eyes of a substitute teacher named Henry Barthes. Henry roams from school to school, imparting modes of knowledge, but never staying long enough to form any semblance of sentient attachment. A perfect profession for one seeking to hide out in the open. One day Henry arrives at his next assignment. Upon his entry into this particular school, a secret world of emotion is awakened within him by three women. A girl named Meredith in his first period. A fellow teacher Ms. Madison, and a street hooker named Erica, whom Henry has personally granted brief shelter from the streets. Each one of these women, like Henry, are in a life and death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

1 February 2012 (France)  »

Also Known As:

O Substituto  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,739 (USA) (16 March 2012)


$71,177 (USA) (27 April 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Betty Kaye, who plays Meredith, is a daughter of the director of this film (Tony Kaye). See more »


In the morning of Erica's first stay in Henry's flat, we see Henry on the roof wearing the ring which Erica will give him days later as a present. See more »


Henry Barthes: Y'know it's funny, I spend a lot of time trying to not have to deal... to not really commit. I'm a substitute teacher, there's no real responsibility to teach. Your responsibility is to maintain order, make sure nobody kills anybody in your classroom, and then they get to their next period.
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Crazy Credits

[intertitle near start] And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world. - Albert Camus See more »


Featured in Chelsea Lately: Episode #6.46 (2012) See more »


Written by Taylor Eigsti
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User Reviews

A Masterpiece
19 April 2012 | by (Arizona) – See all my reviews

I saw this originally in a theater and then again on VOD. I loved it right off and rated it a 9, but it was a movie I just couldn't get off my mind. The cast was outstanding, especially Brody, and the one that kept bringing my thoughts back to it, Toni Gayle as Erica in her first feature film performance. As the director Tony Kaye said, hers was the first character he cast because she is the central pin for the story--amazing given a cast loaded with familiar faces and names and incredible talent.

I can't say too much about the story without spoiling it. It does have memorable dialogue, a very interesting story, and humor is not absent but I think is suffers with audiences because the central character, Brody, is a deep person with a lot to offer but is stuck in a sad, shallow outward personality. If I'd had to leave before the end, I might well not have gone back to finish it. Others have watched it thinking it was going to be another "American History X", but they're just two different movies, both with something big to say, this more so even than X in my opinion. My only minuscule nit to pick is I'd rather have had Brody do the head shots as voice over narration. Above all, if I didn't say anything else I'd say this....stick with it.

The only flaw associated with this movie given all is positives is criminally atrocious marketing. It's like displaying Van Gogh's "Starry Night" in the basement of the Museum of Modern Art where only the occasional patron wanders in and happens to lift its covering. To help the reader judge how I weigh film ratings, I've seen between 5-10,000 movies, but this is only my 14th 10/10.

43 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Are we supposed to care about these characters? TopperHarley29
Sexism against men kcolli11
Adrien Brody is superb. chris_koulouris
Who is he speaking to? anmi1988
The relationship between Henry and Erica = Léon and Mathilda? andrea-fryer
Is this movie showing ANYWHERE? mspeed44
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