Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Ronald Neame, 1969 (8.3*)
"I am in my prime", proudly proclaims Maggie Smith as private school teacher Jean Brodie, to her "gehls" in this incisive character study of an aristocratic yet lonely schoolteacher in Scotland. Smith is dead on in her Oscar®-winning performance for best actress, as a women who is vicariously living her dreams through her impressionable students.

At times a comedy, the film's ultimate tone is one of serious drama as Miss Brodie realizes her special girls will all become adults, often sooner than she expects. She also comes face-to-face with the ramifications of her personal teachings, which lean toward the pro-fascist side. Ironically, Smith would repeat these politics later in Zefferelli's Tea With Mussolini, as a Brit in pre-war Florence, who "admires the fascists because they brought order to chaos", and who eventually actually has tea with Mussolini himself!

Maggie Smith is one of the best actresses of all-time, winning a second Oscar® for supporting actress in California Suite, becoming one of the few actors to achieve double Oscar status. See our post here at Worlds Best Films for multiple Oscar winners..


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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