9/10 Despite having the word “bad” in the title of this film, “Bad Education” couldn’t be further from that adjective. Based off of an incredible true story that I’m honestly surprised I had never heard of up until this point, this film works effortlessly to inform the audience of this true story as well as entertain from start to finish. Hugh Jackman is a revelation and reminds us that despite being known as Wolverine by many, the man is a top notch actor. We see a side of him here that we have not previously seen him portray on screen before. He plays his character here with a veil of desperation, letting us briefly glimpse behind the cracks of the mask he puts on to hide who he really is. Despite being second billed, Allison Janney doesn’t have nearly as much screen time as I assumed she would but even though her presence here is limited, she makes each second count and leaves a lasting impression which is a true testament to her talent as an actress. The rest of the supporting cast puts in solid work as well. This is director Cory Finley’s second film (his first film, “Thoroughbreds” was also very well acted but not nearly as strong as this is) and he not only avoids a sophomore slump but continues to hone his skills as a talented director to keep an eye out for. Michael Abels provides a fantastic score, which Finley’s first film had as well, proving that Finley has an ear for what kind of music really suits the story he is trying to tell. Mike Makowsky’s script is extremely strong and he excels by fleshing out these characters and sharing their motivations with us as well as providing details about what really happened. The real Frank Tassone (the lead character Hugh Jackman plays) has brought up some factual inaccuracies with how he is portrayed but they are personal character moments and not inaccuracies with the overarching story, which seems to be very accurate from my understanding. Some of the inaccurate changes to Tassone paired with the fact that it would have been nice to get a little more information from the closing text are the only two super minor nitpicks I can think of in this otherwise extremely well made film. One piece of information given in the closing text will blow your mind regarding Tassone’s pension and I was glad that was included. The fact that this film highlights the negligence and corruption of school systems and pension laws is important enough on its own and a constant reminder how institutions we blindly put faith in are often the most poorly run and managed. If you’d like an education in a fascinating true story, this is not a bad way to get it.
#RealSteal / #FranklyShockingBehavior / #FIsForFraud / #PamArtist / #SuperUnintendentConsequences / #TeachersFret