An eccentric Scottish schoolteacher's extravagantly romantic ideas about life--and love--overly impress her young pupils and bring her into conflict with her school's conservative headmistre... Read allAn eccentric Scottish schoolteacher's extravagantly romantic ideas about life--and love--overly impress her young pupils and bring her into conflict with her school's conservative headmistress.An eccentric Scottish schoolteacher's extravagantly romantic ideas about life--and love--overly impress her young pupils and bring her into conflict with her school's conservative headmistress.
Rather than another summary and interpretation I want to riff on a few seemingly random points ...
1) The costumes. Fabulous, fabulous period costumes. The grey of the "gehrls" ... all those pleated skirts and dropped waists! Sandy's little gingham number! The bloomers ... oh, how sweet those bloomers were (and I mean nothing perverse by that, I just thought they were cute, and I'll own up to always wondering what was under those '30s skirts). The school uniforms, the effect of the repetition on that gray, gray, gray, and those tidy peter-pan collared shirts: you could easily see why Miss Brodie fancied herself a bit of a Duce herself, she seemed to be surrounded by a uniformed army. And then ... against the greys of the girls, the greys, whites and blacks of the staff -- wonderful houndstooths and glen plaids, especially on the headmistress -- Miss Brodie, impossibly slim and hipless, in radiant plums, flame colors, paisleys and asymmetrical jackets. If only I could have a tailor like that. It worked, it absolutely works still: it doesn't look a bit garish, as so many Technicolor extravaganzas can.
2) Miss Brodie's blindness to who Sandy really is - her insensitivity to her; going on about how "ordinary morals will not apply" to the allegedly-beautiful girl (well, she's blonde anyway) while failing to look beneath the glasses of the real stunner, Sandy. Who with the slightest bit of knowledge about pre-teen girls would do that - harp on a friend's beauty and negligently add, "Oh, but you have insight, dear"? The whole set-up: Sandy's elevated to a peer-like relationship, Sandy's confided in, yet Sandy is only a mirror for Jean, not valued, not truly noticed. I believe that's the dynamic - almost like a neglected lover's - that triggers Sandy's betrayal.
3) Sandy, and her amazing transformation. My jaw actually dropped when we saw her with the painter: did they film over a period of years, I wondered? How could that little girl be THIS young woman? Going back and watching - the schoolgirl uniform, the tousled short hair, the whole expression, look in the eyes, everything. The over-sized glasses. The most convincing precocious-12-year-old performance. And then - pow, an adult! all without CGI. That was impressive.
4) The giggling and sexually curious girls. Hey, I do remember being 12, and yeah, it was like that!
5) That incredible dance scene, the 2 girls tangoing while speculating on "doing it." Fantastic blocking. And funny, and charming as hell. I especially like Sandy's aggressive cranking of the Victrola.
I personally detested the painter - the whole notion of the father of 6 tomcatting about, well, yuck - and his manhandling of the ladies is simply vile. But those were the times, I suppose. The headmistress was sublime. The overall look is artful but not overdone and all perfectly unified and beautiful. Enjoy - I certainly have!
- Nov 28, 2007