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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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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:

Whatever Side You Take, You're Wrong. 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

Opening Weekend USA:

$25,316, 6 November 1994

Gross USA:

$124,693

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

The woman singing over the end credits is Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, who originated the role of Carol on stage alongside William H. Macy. 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

John: Get out of my office!
[Carol doesn't leave]
John: Get out! Get the fuck out of my office!
Carol: I'm leaving. And don't call your wife "Baby"!
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

Referenced in Macy About Mamet (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Brief College Days
Words by David Mamet
Music by Rebecca Pidgeon
Soloist - Main Credits: Steve Goldstein (as Steven Goldstein)
Soloist - End Credits: Rebecca Pidgeon
© Copyright 1994 Dwight Street Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The sick truth about PC
28 February 2008 | by maxtsheaSee all my reviews

I saw what this play illustrates in college in the early 1990s. Carol keeps referring to "my group." We can assume it's a militant feminist student organization, but it could one of many antagonistic outfits steeped in identity politics. These groups always claimed they wanted justice and equality. I participated in several such groups and I quickly observed they care for neither equality nor justice; what they wanted was deference, authority, and often revenge. John tells Carol several times he thinks she is angry. He is correct, of course. What John does not realize from the moment Carol sets foot in his office is he's a dead man. He is her prey. Carol is a type of student I knew well. She is quite intelligent. She is, however, confused and angry. On top of that, she suffers from depression, which diminishes her cognitive abilities. In self-righteous sociopolitical outrage, her "group" has given her a scapegoat--the white male establishment. Her "group" has also given her a deluded purpose--tear down the white male establishment. Much of what some commentators here attribute to John's "stilted" nature is actually Mamet's writing style. However, John is indeed stilted. He is a nerdy college professor. I met many of them too. He lives in his ideas. He pursues ever more clever theories about life and learning. Ironically, he is a bit hazy on what's going on in the here and now. He cannot read Carol's rage and this is his Achilles heel. Carol did not start out as a "bad" person. She started out as a "sad" person. I don't remember the exact quote, but John tells her: The Stoic philosophers say if you take away the statement "I have been injured" you take away the injury. Something like that. Carol's "group" has done quite the opposite. It has goaded her to build her entire life around being injured and being a victim. This is the bread-and-butter of "identity politics." By the time Carol enters John's office she has been trained to kill careers the way the drill sergeant's charges have been trained to kill enemy soldiers in "Full Metal Jacket." "Oleanna" is a tragedy about the consequences of misguided anger. The term "politically correct" is now no more than a term of abuse bandied about by right-wing half-wits; however, I remember the year 1990 and the pins leftie militants sported: "PC and Proud." I saw a lot of people get hurt by political correctness but two things I never saw PC give anybody: 1. Real empowerment. 2. Happiness. David Mamet nails the essence of PC in "Oleanna."


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