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(2002) (Kevin Kline, Emile Hirsch) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Mild Minor Heavy None Minor
Moderate None None None Moderate
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Moderate Mild Minor Moderate Minor

Drama: An idealistic teacher at an all boys academy tries to inspire his students, including a troublemaker, to better themselves and aspire to do great things with their lives.
William Hundert (KEVIN KLINE) is a teacher who's tried to inspire his various students over the past 34 years to better themselves and aspire to do great things with their lives. A practitioner of using prominent if long dead historical figures to demonstrate his points, Hundert has been invited by one of his former students, Sedgewick Bell (JOEL GRETSCH), to a reunion of sorts with him and his fellow former classmates.

As Hundert prepares for the weekend's activities, he remembers back to when he first met Sedgewick (EMILE HIRSCH) back in 1976 at St. Benedicts Academy for Boys. Working for Headmaster Woodbridge (EDWARD HERRMANN) and with Charles Ellerby (ROB MORROW), Hundert easily casts his academic spell over the likes of students Martin Blythe (PAUL DANO), Deepak Mehta (RISHI MEHTA) and Louis Masoudi (JESSE EISENBERG). Things change, however, with Sedgewick's arrival.

The son of U.S. Senator Bell (HARRIS YULIN), the boy is a natural troublemaker and it's not long before he's breaking the rules and disrupting Hundert's class. After a meeting with the Senator somewhat puts the boy in his place, Hundert - who's apparently having a fling with his married colleague Elizabeth (EMBETH DAVIDTZ) - takes it upon himself to encourage Sedgewick to better himself.

He also gets him to participate in the prestigious Julius Caesar contest and it's not long before Hundert must chose the three finalists. Faced with a daunting choice of upholding or bending the rules to help Sedgewick, Hundert makes a choice that could haunt him and have repercussions for years to come.

If they're fans of someone in the cast or teacher/student films along the lines of "Dead Poets Society," they just might.
For some sexual content.
  • KEVIN KLINE plays an idealistic teacher at an all boys school who wants to inspire as well as educate his students. Not a perfect man, he bends the rules to help one student, apparently has an affair with a married colleague and uses some profanity (in repeating what a student has said).
  • EMILE HIRSCH plays a spoiled and disrespectful student who purposefully disrupts Hundert's class. Although he briefly changes his ways, he eventually cheats to win and uses some profanity.
  • EMBETH DAVIDTZ plays Hundert's married colleague with whom he's apparently having an affair.
  • HARRIS YULIN plays Sedgewick's stern father, a U.S. Senator who doesn't like the thought of Hundert trying to mold his boy in any way.
  • PAUL DANO, RISHI MEHTA and JESSE EISENBERG play some of Sedgewick's various classmates, the latter of which briefly uses some profanity.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of several "s" words and slang for genitalia, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some boys look at a porno magazine that briefly shows partial nudity, some male and female students start to undress to go skinny-dipping (but never do get very far), and classic artwork shows male full frontal nudity.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including a teacher apparently having an affair and a disruptive student with a bad attitude who cheats. His actions and other material may be enticing for some kids to imitate. Meanwhile, various characters drink or smoke.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

  • Elizabeth mentions that her husband was falling asleep on a trip from too much food and ouzo.
  • As Sedgewick jokingly names off the seven dwarves, he holds a piece of chalk to his mouth like a joint when he gets to Dopey.
  • William comments that immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated and drunkenness sobered (when making a point about Sedgewick acting stupid).
  • Elizabeth comes over to see William and he offers her "the usual" (a drink), but she declines. He does have a drink.
  • William and Elizabeth have wine with dinner.
  • People have drinks at a reception and William refers to some of his former students as drunken reprobates.
  • Some people drink while watching a competition.
  • A person is compared to fine wine in that he improves with age.
  • William has a drink in front of him.
  • Various people drink.
  • Various people have champagne or mimosas.
  • We see Sedgewick standing at a urinal and hear him urinating, but don't see anything explicit.
  • Sedgewick has a bad attitude toward learning as well as William's authority and constantly makes fun of him and/or cuts up in class with a sassy and disrespectful attitude. He also cheats during several academic competitions and ignores other students' request that he keep the noise down (bouncing a ball on the wall) as they try to study. He also breaks the rules by canoeing over to a forbidden side of a lake (to the girls school on the other side).
  • As an adult, he also states that he'll lie or cheat to get ahead.
  • Louis mockingly makes fun of what William earlier said (but is caught doing so and feels bad about it).
  • There's the hint that William has had an affair with a married woman, Elizabeth, but that's never made clear (she comes to his place, he asks if she wants her "usual" drink, both seem upset when she moves to England, they quickly get together after her divorce, etc.).
  • At one point, Louis joins Sedgewick in being disrespectful toward their teacher.
  • A person calls some boys "Marys."
  • William changes Sedgewick's grade on the final quiz to allow him to move from 4th to 3rd in the contest and thus continue in the competition.
  • The school's headmaster tells William to ignore Sedgewick's cheating in a big contest.
  • None.
  • Sedgewick's father gives William an antique pistol that a student gave him.
  • Phrases: "Who gives a sh*t?" "I'm such an asshole," "Freakin,'" "Shut up," "Take the damn thing" and "Has his head up his ass."
  • One student smacks another with a towel (in a playful manner).
  • Sedgewick acts like the class clown and doesn't respect William as his teacher.
  • Sedgewick lights a firecracker and playfully tosses it in Martin's direction.
  • Sedgewick has coordinated all of the students in the class to close their books at the same time, thus startling William.
  • A person calls some boys "Marys."
  • Sedgewick throws a bucketful of water onto other students.
  • We see a brief food fight started by Sedgewick.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 3 "s" words, 2 nonsexual slang words for female genitals ("p*ssy"), 2 asses (1 used with "hole"), 2 damns, 1 S.O.B, 6 uses of "Oh my God," 5 of "God," 2 of "Oh God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes," "For God's sakes," "Jesus Christ," "Jesus, God in Heaven," "My God," "Oh Christ" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • A picture of Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" shows male full frontal nudity.
  • Sedgewick pulls out a porno magazine from his footlocker (that shows a scantily clad woman on the front). As other students try to study, he looks at the centerfold (we don't see anything). He then throws it over to them (saying it's from France) and they're astonished/excited by what they see (with one saying, "It shows hair"). Other such magazines are seen in Sedgewick's footlocker (with Martin saying that they're dead if anyone catches them with them). We then see a shot from one that shows a woman in an old pinup pose that shows the side of her bare breast and bare butt.
  • Some girls across the lake make a double entendre out of the boys' school's name by calling it "Saint Bene-dicts." After some brief flirting, one of the girls asks if they're going to go skinny-dipping. Sedgewick then immediately takes off his shirt and wonders which girl will come with him. He then starts to take off his pants and two of the girls say they'll go (with one opening her shirt and revealing her bra and cleavage), but they're interrupted by an approaching nun and nothing else happens.
  • A woman shows cleavage.
  • Various miscellaneous characters smoke (some school girls, some former students, and a person passes by with a pipe).
  • A cigarette ad is seen on the back of a magazine, while some packs of cigarettes are seen in Sedgewick's footlocker.
  • Sedgewick's father offers William a cigar, but he declines. He then tries to smoke one, but can't get it lit.
  • We hear that Elizabeth's marriage ended over time.
  • Sedgewick states that his father never heard what he had to say as his son.
  • Cheating.
  • Teaching and the teacher/student relationship.
  • Hundert's comments that man's character is his fate; conquest without contribution is without significance; that which is lost, is lost forever; immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever; and that life is not determined by a single failure or a solitary success.
  • Whether William should have changed Sedgewick's grade to allow him to move from 4th to 3rd in the contest and thus continue in the competition.
  • A hit baseball accidentally breaks the headmaster's car window.

  • Reviewed September 24, 2002 / Posted November 22, 2002

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