Rushmore

Packed with Wes Anderson’s unique charm and aesthetic, sadly the repetitive stoyline gets pretty tiresome pretty quickly

Year: 1998
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams
Length: 1 hour 33 minutes
Rating: 2/5

Max (Jason Schwartzman) is self assured, adult-like 15 year old who lives his life 220px-Rushmoreposteraround organising elaborate extra curricular activities and clubs at his prestigious school Rushmore. However his happy school existence is marred when his failure at school work leads him to be put on academic probation. At the same time, he begins to fall for new elementary school teacher Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), who’s husband has recently died. He seeks the advice of his new friend, Herman Blume (Bill Murray), a wealthy and languorous man and the father of two of Max’s school fellows, on how to win Miss Cross’s affections, leading to Herman to also start to fall for Miss Cross.

It’s possible that the first Wes Anderson film you see will always be your favourite, which is maybe why Rushmore is touted as the favourite of many film critics somewhat older than me who probably saw it at the cinema. The first Wes Anderson film I saw was Moonrise Kingdom and I adored it. I had never seen anything near this amount of quirkiness of characters, colours, style and music all combined in one before. Rushmore is the third Wes Anderson film I’ve watched after that and sadly I still haven’t been able to rediscover that same sense of escapism into a colourful, storybook world that his films promise.
Jason Schwartzman is great as Max, instantly personifying the character he has so far played in the rest of his career, making you wonder how much of his performance directed Anderson rather than the other way round. The set up of Rushmore and Max’s fanatical obsession with his extracurricular activites promised a great deal of amusing and interesting content. However a set up it solely was with the rest of the film mainly devoted to Max’s obsession with Miss Cross. I love Olivia Williams and I love that she was cast to be Max’s idea of the perfect woman because she actually looks and acts like a real human woman. But sadly all she really got to do was try and ward off Max’s weird advances towards her, despite her pretty clearly indicating these make her uncomfortable. And a whole film around a male ignoring a women telling him no, even if he is 15, is uncomfortable to watch. And this just kind of goes on for most of the film, with Max getting jealous first about Miss Cross’ new doctor boyfriend (Luke Wilson) and then getting jealous and betrayed by Herman.
I think Moonrise Kingdom is my favourite Wes Anderson film because the storyline fits his aesthetic perfectly rather than jolting slightly uncomfortably as it does in the others I’ve watched. Moonrise is about children acting like adults, in that serious, deadpan way children have, rather than adults acting like strange deadpan, immature children.  

 

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