Cape Town professor David Lurie blatantly refuses to defend himself for an affair with a colored student whom he gave a passing grade for an exam she didn't even attend. Dismissed, he moves to his daughter Lucy's farm, which she runs under most disadvantaged terms, favoring the black locals. Yet rowdies, unprovoked, violently rob and abuse them both. Lucy refuses to fight back, unlike David, who is surprised by his own altruistic potential.Written by
Ugly, depressing movie with no redeeming qualities except good acting.
The motivations of this cast of characters is practically unfathomable. Playing against all reasonable expectations about human nature seems to be the point, here. This is an ugly, depressing movie about extremely neurotic people, none of whom elicit an ounce of sympathy. These people live in a society where "getting along" trumps pride and self respect. They are so world-weary, presumably from the black-white violence of their recent past that that will degrade and humiliate themselves just to maintain peace. It's not noble, it's not sensible, and it's very depressing. Why did the young black girl student, in the beginning of the story allow herself to be, essentially, raped by this odious troglodyte of a poetry teacher? She obviously didn't like him at all. Are we supposed to believe these blacks in South Africa have a slave mentality that prevents them from resisting a white man? I don't believe that for a moment. And how could the Malkovich character, so contrite about what he's done to the girl that he prostrates himself on the floor and apologizes to her mother—how does that attitude square with his seduction of the veterinarian woman without any regard for the feelings of her husband? And it goes on and on, all against a painful, callous background of dog euthanasia. Disgusting.
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