According the free dictionary  online, detachment means breach, break up, insulation, aloofness, fairness, impartiality, objectivity, nonchalance, disinterest. Usually when you see this many good actors put together in a movie, you should expect it to fall apart for lack of cohesion, but Tony Kaye, the director who also directed American History X which is a must watch movie with Edward Norton, keeps the narrative tightened around the central character, Henry Barthes, brilliantly portrayed by Adrian Brody who seems to be playing another version of the character he played in the Pianist.

This scene of the Pianist almost, and I must insist on that almost, brought me to tears the first time because of everything that comes before and the intimacy between hunter and hunted created through music.

Here’s an impressive picture of director Tony Kaye that’s worth a look:

Now as to the movie “Detachment”, this is no news that the American education public system is seriously broken. In fact, it’s so broken that every new president promises to change it all for the better for everyone. Well, this movie gives some of the reasons as to why.I didn’t go to high school here in the US, but my sister and brother did and I feel sad for them. They didn’t get to have the thrill of passing national exams at the end of high school which causes so much stress that some of the students end up hospitalized because these exams pretty much determine your future.

The children, these angels fractured by their broken family, the broken society and a dysfunctional school administration have no hope except for Henry Barthes, the substitute teacher in his dark and glowing armor who swoops in and saves most of them, but keeps his shield of distress up so he may see another day. Sometimes it takes a dysfunctional, almost on the ledge to help another dysfunctional.

The cinematography which involves Henry Barthes reminiscing on his childhood, the cold light and some amazing shots of the school in decay and chaos plunge the viewer in a mood that leaves a sense of urgency in your mouth after you are done watching it. I also think they could have used less shots of Adrien Brody appearing so stricken, but I’m glad they didn’t have any background music to cue us in as to his sadness.

I will be a teacher one day because I still feel romantic about it. Yes, it’s a calling but society doesn’t thank them enough in words or financial deeds. But like in this movie, there’s always that one child who makes it all worth it.

Let me know if there are movies that I must watch, I like my list of movies like my reading list: Endless.


8 thoughts on “Detachment

  1. i remember once, many years ago thinking to myself, Thank god there are millions and millions of books and movies in the world, I never have to feel lonely or bored!

    ps: The world needs beautiful teachers that are not afraid to relax their bodies aspen their minds and connect. YOU will make a great one I am sure

  2. I really enjoyed this (and thank you for the clips to two movies that I have not yet watched).

    I have been a teacher but it has been years since I have had my own class because I’ve been in graduate school. There is something romantic about the work, at times. . . and it is also gruelling if you work in a system that gives you next to no control over the curriculum. I’m glad I didn’t face the national exams that determine my future because I think I would have been one of those kids who lost his mind.

    I don’t think we’ll ever really know what to do with education because we (by “we” I mean the mainstream dialogue on education you hear in the media) expect it to have short-term results. We expect it will make us richer and our kids more successful. And perhaps it will do both, but on what time scale? I am not jaded about education, I value it very highly. I just think that in a profit-obsessed society “utility” remains the dominant criteria for education, not “wonder.”

    • Wonder is indeed the whole purpose behind education, I thank one of my friend for reminding that education was supposed to better me, but not necessarily get me a job and there are countless ways I see how knowledge is valuable now that I’m not in school even though I will return at one point.

    • that was hilarious, I have never seen this one before. Beyond the misunderstanding that creates the hilarious situation, here are two unlikely, rejected people for their handicap who unsuccessfully try to be friends. That was charming.

      • The entire movie is worth watching. It’s an old favorite of mine. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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