6.7/10
2,692
103 user 26 critic

Oleanna (1994)

Not Rated | | Drama, Thriller | 4 November 1994 (USA)
When a student visits her professor to discuss how she failed his course, the discussion takes an awkward turn.

Director:

David Mamet

Writers:

David Mamet (play), David Mamet (screenplay)

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at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
William H. Macy ... John
Debra Eisenstadt ... Carol
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Storyline

A two character movie, involving a college professor, John, who is confronted by a female student, Carol, who is failing his course. The two spend a long time talking to each other, during which time John says a few things that can be taken the wrong way. After the night the two spent talking, John is slapped with a sexual harassment accusation by Carol. After more accusations from Carol, John's career as a teacher begins to fall apart. This forces John with a choice on how to handle the situation, and the results make up for a shattering ending to the movie. Written by Justin Sharp <rainman88@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

There are two sides to every story. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM | Powerhouse Films

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 November 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

David Mamet's Oleanna See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$124,693
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of three major theatrical feature films about the subject of sexual harassment that were first released around the time of the early mid-1990s. The movies are 'Oleanna' (1994) written and directed by David Mamet and based on his play; 'Disclosure' (1994) directed by Barry Levinson and based on the novel by Michael Crichton; and 'Gross Misconduct' (1993) directed by George Miller and based on the play by Lance Peters. See more »

Goofs

When the professor says "Oh, my God." near the end of the movie right after striking his student and shortly before sitting down, for a short time the microphone hanging from the roof is visible at the top right corner of the screen. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
John: Oh, my God.
Carol: Yes, that's right.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The "school song" (written by Mamet) played during the credits is sung by Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon who first performed the role of Carol on stage. See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a version of the movie circulating in Australia, in a series of videos along with other David Mamet films including "A Life in the Theater". This particular copy of the film is timecoded. In that version, after Carol tells John not to call his wife "baby," (thus sending him into a torrent of rage), and he slaps her arm and grabs her, screaming a sexual expletive and raising a chair above her head, the door to the hallway swings open and a number of people stand in the hallway, observing the fight and thus hopelessly damning John. In the version now appearing on The Sundance Channel (10/05), the expletive is unchanged but he never lifts the chair and the door never opens; aside from a final exterior shot of the school, the film ends with Carol (Eisenstadt) having collapsed on the floor of John's office, and John sitting in his chair, his head buried in his hands. See more »

Connections

Featured in Behind Oleanna (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Hail To The Men Of Merit
Words by David Mamet
Music by Rebecca Pidgeon
© Copyright 1994 Dwight Street Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Prepare yourself for discussions and dissensions.
22 January 2000 | by nitemanSee all my reviews

This is a movie not without faults -- the dialog at the beginning is stilted, William H. Macy's performance is not without its weak spots -- but in spite of those quibbles, is a compelling, intriguing film.

The movie centers on the relationship between a student and a professor at an unnamed university. She goes to him for extra help in his class (but she may be just trying to set him up for a sexual harrassment lawsuit). He tries to help her with her studies (but may be trying to dominate and have innappropriate relations with her at the same time). As the relationship turns into a struggle, the viewer finds him/herself switching sides early and often. The tension in the film becomes the viewer's tension; during the final scenes you'll barely breathe.

The tagline is right -- whatever side you choose, you're wrong. I've seen this movie lambasted as being anti-feminist, lauded for being pro-feminist, hated for being anti-establishment, pro-establishment, racist, sexist, etc. In reality, it is all and none of these things. Oleanna is a mirror that forces us to examine and discuss our own convictions. That it accomplishes this while still being an exciting film makes it worth seeing more than once.


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