December 22, 2009

Higher Learning - 1995

Director: John Singleton
Writer: John Singleton
Starring: Omar Epps, Kristy Swanson, Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Connelly, Ice Cube, Tyra Banks, Laurence Fishburne

"Without struggle, there is no progress." This film from noted director John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood, Shaft) follows a year in the lives of three college freshmen from very different walks of life: Kristen (Swanson), Malik (Epps), and Remy (Rapaport). Kristen, shy and naive, gets raped by a frat boy and juggles two relationships--one with a guy and the other with newfound lesbian friend Taryn (Connelly). Malik, a financially struggling track star, is constantly at odds with his place in society as an African-American male. Remy, a loner from Idaho, can't seem to find his place in any social clique, and proceeds to fall in with the worst one possible.

Obvious statement one: I'm a white guy. Obvious statement two: John Singleton is African-American. As such, we have very different outlooks on society, and they become apparent in our actions. The majority of white characters in Higher Learning run the gamut from your average jerk to rapists and Neo-Nazis. I don't know if the director's intention is to deal in films meant to make the white masses feel bad for sins of oppression and hate committed by past generations, but it certainly works at times. In terms of the performances and technical aspects, though, this is a good film, and Singleton deserves every ounce of acclaim he gets and then some.

1 comment:

  1. As an African-American male, I feel this review is quite uninformative. You could've done a better job of expanding on the film's subtleties.