Friday, December 7, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to watch the film Detachment, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The ensemble cast, led by veteran Adrien Brody and accompanied by Sami Gayle in a stunning film debut, presents us with a picture that is quirky and unexpectedly funny, but, overall, deeply unsettling. Most importantly, Detachment condenses into a startlingly plausible caricature all those problems which can and do coincide to make the American educational system so frequently and deeply prone to disaster: underfunding, absentee parenting, unchecked bullying, an undeserved sense of entitlement (for both students and parents), teen depression, promiscuity, the conflicting priorities for educators and administrators, sexual paranoia, disciplinary impotence, the practical application of ideologically conceived legislation, the inevitable bleeding in of teachers' personal lives into the workplace, violence, a culture which promotes disrespect, and, finally, almost inevitably, teacher burnout. As could be expected, Detachment is gritty and vulgar, meaning that those whose sensibilities or ethics would be violated by the foul language, the violence, or the nudity should forgo this particular film. But since real life isn't suitable for broadcast on ABC Family, Detachment takes the reality, actual or merely potential, and slaps the viewer across the face with it. It is a necessary service.