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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 12:06 AM


Watched Detachment on Netflix. Wow. And so sad...

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Response to MichiganVote (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 02:41 AM

1. Just watched it based on your recommendation.

Good movie. Honest and very sad.

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Response to MichiganVote (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:35 AM

2. i just watched it on you tube based on your rec. interesting in parts but a bit over the top &


Last edited Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:30 AM - Edit history (2)

in the end pretentious for my taste and creepy in bits too.

whoever wrote the script, they needed an editor -- imho. i liked the bones of the story but parts of the execution were annoying and the perpetual gloom struck me as unrealistic. c'mon, not *one single parent* at parents' night? not one?

yeah, i know, it wasn't supposed to be entirely realistic -- but it seemed to me it was unrealistic in places that should have been realistic.

This school looks like a suburban school, the halls are all shiny and white and clean -- it's majority white/asian except for one really angry black kid who looks and acts like he escaped from the projects and another really angry black girl with a really angry black mother. despite being in this clean white-tiled school all the kids are angry, sad, or sexualised and the school is 'failing' and about to be closed, all the teachers are angry, doped up, miserable, with terrible home lives or sad pasts.

yeah, i know, teenagers can be angst-ridden and teachers can be burnt out and unhappy, but not all of them, all of the time.

and the child prostitute storyline, while necessary for the story arc, i found unbelievable as executed and kind of creepy & hypocritical in the presentation of the child.

this initial encounter where the tiny little girl is shaking down a john on a bus all by herself -- unbelievable. the next encounter, her standing on a streetcorner dressed like a stereotypical hooker somewhere near the very clean school -- unbelievable. where's the drugs, where's the pimp/boyfriend, where's the other street kids, where does she go to change out of that black number or does she walk around all day like that? where'd she get the other skimpy clothes that materialize at his apartment?

the guy is presented as taking her in out of some detached compassion, caring for her as a *child* but she's presented throughout in a sexualized way, always in skimpy clothing, and their developing relationship reminded me of the montage sequences in romantic movies where boy & girl do various cute things together, smile at each other winningly etc, to indicate their growing love. in the end when he goes to see her at juvie she jumps on him and wraps her legs around his waist just as the female love interest does after the silly break up over triviality, when they finally realize that they *really do* love each other and fade into happy ever after.

in the same time space, the gorgeous redheaded teacher is told "she shouldn't be here" because the man is empty. so this can be read as him rejecting the woman for the child. can be, i don't know if *should* be, but it struck me.

and then at the end, he's reading 'fall of the house of usher" (symbolic of our decaying, falling society) to a room of students which changes into broken furniture and swirling papers. interesting, but kind of mitigates against the previous scene where he's gone to see the young prostitute, which you can initially read as accepting responsibility for her and for his students, opening himself up to all that pain which he rejected before. but if so, what's the significance of reading to inanimate broken torn up things?

and of course the ugly fat girl had to die, but the cute young prostitute lives. why is the young prostitute so very cute, anyway? "pretty woman" for pedophiles?

the guy's personal history -- though again, necessary for the story arc -- i also found kind of unbelievable.

i dunno, there were some things i liked -- the acting, some of the scenes, the hints about education deform (but those wouldn't have much significance to folks who didn't already have some background), the speech about reading being a way of defending our ability to imagine against images given from others (albeit the written word is also images given by others) --

but i felt there were weird subtexts.

i'd be interested in hearing other people's reactions; it's not your stereotypical 'special caring teacher reforms juvenile delinquents' at least -- or is it?

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:36 AM

3. Well sure, some parts are "unrealistic". But then drama is not a documentary.


I liked the film b/c much of the symbolism seemed to offer the viewers the opportunity to think. And some viewers may relate as well to the scenes you mention.

The poverty was sanitized in my experience. The woman who came to school to protest her daughter's expulsion, I've met the type, several times over. As for the parent conferences, while I haven't seen or heard of no parents showing up, teachers commonly complain of low parent turn out at schools with low income students.

The end of the film with the symbolism of the papers, desks in disarray, reminded me of the pictures of Detroit schools.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:02 AM

4. i agree with you there's food for thought in it. it's interesting. but i didn't see sanitized


poverty, i saw stereotypical 'ghetto kids' plopped down into what seemed to be a suburban school setting.

yeah, i've heard of low turnout too, but never *no* turnout.

i was also reminded of the pictures of the abandoned supplies/equipment in the detroit system. but detroit isn't what was presented here. the school in this film was actually Mineola HS in Long Island NY.

That school has an upper middle class demographic, and to film there rather than in some more decaying school (or having the set designers 'ghettoize' mineola) was an editorial choice -- so I'm wondering what the significance of that choice was.

I don't think the film was about 'the ghetto' which is why the kids were so weirdly a ghetto/suburbia hybrid. what low-income area has a store full of, i believe it was a lot of decorative lamps that the hero was looking at on one of his evening strolls? a store full of decorative home interiors in the 'ghetto', with 15-year-old prostitutes in short black dresses standing outside?

where is this story located?

it's just odd and has to be deliberate.

i also think the choice of presenting the child as sexualized and inviting the audience to be voyeur/pedophile is also deliberate, but not sure what the point is.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:29 PM

6. I've been in inner city schools that are clean.Sometimes the custodians


function better than many other parts of an education system. Course, by Thanksgiving most floors and walls are marked up.

What I found unreal was the apartment that the guy had. While I don't pretend to know the spaces in NY and its environs, it seemed pretty spacious for a sub teacher. As fro symbolism, I wondered why the child who became suicidal didn't poison the other cupcakes and only her own...I wanted the school or others to recognize her talent in the film. Perhaps that is the point-talent dies unless it is nourished.

I did like the point in the girl's photo gist to the teacher. I think that educators are not only faceless among many students or their families, they are increasingly encouraged to be faceless. Something I don't think most kids want to have happen.

Anyway, food for thought.

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Response to MichiganVote (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:52 AM

7. i agree with you on the 'faceless' thing, & it kind of ties into what i meant by "where is this?"


the hero's 'faceless' apartment (bare white, little furniture -- maybe large for nyc, but still a studio -- is this really supposed to be nyc? it's not so clear) -- the 'faceless' unidentifiable streets around the school and the incongruous juxtaposition of the lighting store & the child hooker), the white halls with the stereotypical black ghetto type parachuted into the nearly all-white school -- i think the school is nowhere & everywhere, it's faceless/mix of suburbia/ghetto on purpose, because the story isn't particularly about 'the ghetto' or inner-city schools or material poverty, it's about society in general.

maybe the child is always dressed scantily, that uncertainy in viewing her as child/sexualized because that's the same tension that exists in society, where we talk a good game about sexualizing kids and all are a-twitter about pedophiles -- but the culture at large in fact encourages sexualization of children through various means.

just my opinion. lots of food for thought but i felt some overkill at certain points and some conflict in the subtext.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 06:49 PM

8. Good thoughts. Actually the teen prostitute prolly wouldn't


last a day or more on the streets of NY w/o a pimp or w/o the other ladies challenging her. And her dress is probably a little rich for most child runaway type teen prostitutes. Reminds me of a HS prom kid who took a wrong turn, and no drugs which is also sort of unusual.

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Response to MichiganVote (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:00 PM

5. Watching it now. Never heard of it before.

Wow. Good but depressing.

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