Oleanna (1994)

DAVID MAMET

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

United Kingdom/USA, 1994.  Bay Kinescope, Channel Four Films, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, The School Company.  Screenplay by David Mamet, based on his play.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Independent Spirit Awards 1994.  

Fascinating adaptation of David Mamet’s popular and undeservedly controversial play. When a university student () consults her professor (William H. Macy) about a course she is having difficulty with, she walks away from their meeting feeling that his behaviour was entirely inappropriate. She returns to him the next day threatening a sexual harassment lawsuit, and it is then that this riveting two-character drama gets into full swing. With magnificent dialogue and perfect acting from the two leads, Mamet has directed a fully engrossing examination of what is a very important issue in today’s society. Mamet hasn’t written it as objectively as he would like you to think; it is quite obvious in the end which of the two characters he has sided with (Macy argues for personal expression, Eisenstadt is unable to think for herself and stands behind her politically-fanatic women’s group), and the piece loses some of its power because of this.  Mamet adapts the play effectively, however, and mines a lot of dramatic power out of a very simple setup.

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