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Tom Crick, a high school history teacher, is having trouble connecting - with his class, with his wife. He ventures into telling his class stories about his young adulthood in the Fens district in England. The emotional wounds from his younger life wash over him in present day, affecting his work and his relationships with his students and his wife.Written by
Martin Lewison <email@example.com>
Once upon a time, children, there was a history teacher who came home one day, after giving a class on the French Revolution, to find that his wife, the woman he loved since they were children, had herself committed a revolutionary, a miraculous act.
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Jeremy Irons, everybody's favorite morose Englishman, plays a high school teacher who basically has a nervous breakdown (more like a meltdown) in class; and over the course of several class sessions, tells his pupils his own life story, growing up in rural England in the post-war years. This includes his high school sweetheart, to whom he is married, and his mentally retarded older brother.
The movie consistently takes turns for the weird. The teacher's wife has a habit of snatching unattended babies and bringing them home; we learn that she is unable to have children, but the reason for this is not revealed until a climactic scene that some viewers may find very difficult and painful to watch.
The teacher actually brings his students, physically, into the setting of the story at one point ... there they are, walking around, looking at things... a class field trip into the teacher's past. A very young Ethan Hawke plays a troublesome student who connects with Jereme's character by the end of the story.
Most of the surrealistic elements work well, others are just ... odd. For example, at one point, Jeremy Irons' character pauses in the middle of his narrative, because one of his female students who is sitting at a desk in the classroom is completely naked. Okay ... maybe there was supposed to be some kind of symbolism behind this image, but it seemed a little gratuitous.
Overall, I'd have to give it **** of *****.
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