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Bad Education – 2019 Hugh Jackman Movie Review

Bad Education premiered in September 2019 at the Toronto International Film festival. This film is all about how deep corruption can seep into the system, eating away the foundational values of the huge edifice. Set in Long Island, New York, in 2002, Cory Finley’s film is inspired by an infamous real incident of embezzlement in a school, arguably the biggest ever in the American school system. School Superintendent Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) and assistant superintendent Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney) have helped take Roslyn School District to the very top, both when it comes to the rising college admissions and the soaring property prices of the area. One fine day a Skywalk proposal brings to light the corruption going behind all the goodness and how it all gets exposed. Below is the detailed movie review as written by experts of a coursework writing service.

A Little Background: 

Parents pushing their children towards glory and taking the credit for driving them to success is not exactly a new phenomenon and we see this happening around us too frequently. Most of us are running after superior positions in society which comes from good grades, higher education, and academic excellence. Some of the parents even go to the lengths of forcing their children to choose particular career paths even if they do not like them or want to pursue them just because they believe it is the right thing to do and would get them a good place in society. This, on the other hand, has also given rise to some very unethical practices in the education industry and educators often take advantage of this passion or even the obsession of parents and come up with ways to trick them in the name of education.

This phenomenon has also attracted the attention of many writers and filmmakers over the years and you will find several movies based on such subjects that how perfectly sane people went to insane lengths to achieve their dreams. Parents want their children to excel in their academics so that they can get admission to the best colleges and universities and what goes on in the process. In trying to do so they often get conned or misused by people in the right places as these people exploit them.

Bad Education is a comedy-drama that goes behind the real-life embezzlement scandal at a Long Island school district. Based on a New York magazine article titled “The Bad Superintendent,” the film details the crimes of a celebrated school superintendent and his assistant superintendent. Starring Hugh Jackman and Pamela Gluckin, this movie is based on a scandal that scandal threatens to destroy the reputation of the entire school district after it comes to light that Gluckin has used tax payer’s money for her personal needs. Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney play complex, three-dimensional characters full of vulnerabilities, and the actors do full justice to their roles. The film is an engrossing comedy-drama.

“Bad Education” explores their real-life embezzlement scheme, which came crashing down when the high-school newspaper broke the story in 2004. Spending nearly $8 million on a sky bridge to beautify a campus seems reasonable when you are trying to exude an aura of success—when you are the fourth-ranked district in the country, gunning for that No. 1 spot. With that much money flying around, skimming a little here and there for a bagel or jewelry or renovations on your beach house in the Hamptons is no biggie.


The story revolves around Frank, who has some dirty secrets of his own, gives an impression of sense and calm to persuade his superiors to bury the accusation. He argues that the school district is on the verge of becoming the topmost in the entire country, and this scandal, should it ever come to light, would ensure that never happens. Gluckin offers to pay the entire amount and also agrees reluctantly to resign. But a clever student working for the school publication Rachel Bhargava sniffs malfeasance, including made-up businesses being paid exorbitant amounts of money, and convinces her editor to publish the story. Though it is a comedy and also has many characteristics of an out-and-out satire, it treats its subject matter, corruption in academia with the gravity it deserves.

The writer has done justice in a very smart way; bit by bit things are unraveled and the tentacles of greed, deceit, and deception of the main characters are brought to light. One thing leads to another till the entire structure falls apart, as the elaborate cover-up does not withstand anymore. It’s a thriller that keeps you on the edge and surprises you with some unforeseen turns. Even as people do their utmost to save their skin, they inadvertently also nurture their future adversaries. Nothing is what it seems especially when it comes to the layers of frauds within the school administration itself but the many secrets and lies underlining the personal relationships that play out behind them.

Acting is brilliant by all the actors; at the center of it all is Jackman as Tassone, who comes up with a superlative, layered performance. He has charisma and charms that work on everyone, young as well as old, the rich and the ordinary. He possesses the magical ability to inspire students and parents alike and his proclivity towards thrift, opting for a cheaper diet smoothie stands outs. Then he also shows his other side, the conscious effort to be physically immaculate, be it the grooming or the attire. But at the same time, all the spit and polish and the deliberately constructed persona turn him oddly sinister. Janney, his efficient assistant Gluckin, also has a similar indefinable diabolical air about her.

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The screenplay gives the story an observational eye and dramatic shape and also highlights the moral issues at its core. We see both Tassone and Gluckin complain about their underpaid jobs as public servants. They believe a life dedicated to the service of the public must be rewarded with the luxury of expensive suits, backyard pools, houses in New York and Nevada, and first-class flights to Europe. These are people who have enjoyed their opportunities of upward social mobility for so long that they think they are entitled to these flagrant displays of privilege and to enjoy this all, they are ready to steal from the public, especially people who want the best for their children. The white privilege is also at play here that prompts parents to bride colleges to get their children into elite colleges as it is their right. They are convinced that their crimes are noble and for the greater good, and all this has been acted out brilliantly.

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