Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity.
When I sat down to watch this film, I didn't know what to expect. I am not usually a fan of films about musicians but this was a brilliant and tense masterpiece. The story is of a very ambitious boy named Andrew (played by Miles Teller) who is a music student in New York. He aspires to be noticed by a prestigious music teacher named Fletcher (played by J.K. Simmons). As his wish starts becoming a reality, he realises the brutality of this teacher who continually pushes him with questionable methods. Damien Chazelle's direction is almost of a tense boxing or war action drama in that it constantly uses the music of the drumming to build the tension whilst using violent and sharp editing whilst the jazz band play.Chazelle's screenplay is very well written. It is filled with humour, tension and heartbreak. The way in which Fletcher switches during Andrew's first lesson is expertly done. Fletcher relentlessly insults Andrew in a very shocking way which really creates a huge sense of sympathy for Andrew's character as he struggles to respond. The insulting dialogue is very similar to Stanley Kubrick's 'Full Metal Jacket' in that it is both humourous and disturbingly distressing.The performances in this film are remarkable. Miles Teller is a relative newcomer but takes to this character with so much depth and understanding. The drumming scenes look like incredible and torturous workouts and Teller really shows the pain and agony his character is going through to reach his dream. The chemistry between the two central characters is flawless. J.K. Simmons is perfect as the abusive music teacher. Simmons manages to combine Fletcher's distinguished persona with his terrifying unpredictability. Simmons reminds me of his character in Valve's 'Portal 2' in which he continuously spouts insults at the player in a darkly hilarious way.Overall, 'Whiplash' is a fascinating study of passion, ambition and love. The film asks questions about the morality of getting one's dreams and the acceptable methods of acquiring them. Full of amazing performances all around, and created with such intensity and spirit, my final rating for this film is 4.5 stars.★★★★?
J K Simmons won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his mean, bullying monster. Jazz teacher Terence Fletcher who abhors the words 'good job.'Fletcher tells a tale about Charlie Parker and how doing a good job was not enough for him. Good job means mediocrity.Yet Fletcher is a mediocre educator and his college seems not to have noticed this. Instead of being an inspiration his students fear him. He is a nasty tyrant and an incident from his past comes back to haunt him.Miles Teller plays Andrew Neiman the put upon jazz drummer in the Shaffer Conservatory in New York. Neiman is eager to impress Fletcher but nothing he can do is good enough and withstands all the effluent Fletcher throws at him until one day he snaps.Damien Chazelle unleashed an unethical monster in Fletcher with Neiman providing the film's heart but I am not convinced that this is a good film. The rest of the students in the class are silent to the abuse taking place right in front of them. They are young adults, not kids and they do nothing about it.
Fantastic movie with a good cast with an impressive Miles Teller and a yet even more impressive J.K. Simmons. Decent script, great directing, selection of the repertoire and performances.Just sit down, get a good audio system and enjoy one of the best movies of the 2010s.
DISGUSTING NONSENSE...*** This review may contain spoilers ***I find it very sad that so many people - including so-called professional reviewers - have rated this crap so highly. I did not walk out (although I was greatly tempted to do so) but saw it to the end. A total waste of time.Here's what might spoil it for you, should you believe the BS that's being spread around this stinking pile of excrement: It could have actually been OK if it hadn't been so laughably impossibly ridiculous. Perhaps if it had been set in the fifties or the forties when people had much less developed consciousness of human rights? But even so... I suppose the moral/lesson we are supposed to learn is... if you can't warp your students enough by abuse to force them to become great musicians then it is perfectly alright to discard or destroy them in the attempt. This glorified tyrant and bully can himself only produce music at a grade one level and so because he cannot 'do' he 'teaches?'He does not teach, he does not inspire; he withholds approval, negatively reinforces and rules by fear, and is feared rather than respected. I would have a difficult time to point to a single (pedagogical) scene in the film that had any merit whatsoever or was worth watching for any reason. Maybe I should say that its evident popularity may be evidence that we are truly living in the end times... ha! See the film if you want to be current, but please decide for yourself from watching it and don't believe the hype about its 'genius' or 'brilliance.' It is not either of those things; it's a poorly written, sad joke. I would expect that those people who rate it so highly A) want to seem cool because 'it's about jazz' B) have never actually been in a teacher/student situation and therefore, can only imagine how its done C) see all the other positive reviews and so must follow the herd D) don't really know their ass from their elbow or E) thought the the actor had truly grown because in Spiderman he only yell, but it THIS one, he throws chairs.... or F) all of the above.Save your money or see something uplifting instead rather than this horseshit.
Stupid and Improbable story.---Well acted? Sure. Decent directing and production values- yep! Plausible or realistic storyline? Not at all. There is no Shaffer Conservatory. Berklee College of Music in Boston used to be heavy on big-band jazz, but now the school has become far more vocational. None of the conservatory's I am aware of feature jazz as a curriculum, and if they did, it certainly would not be a major. No music professor in the USA would have a job if they behaved the way Fletcher does, and more to the point, no JAZZER would ever behave this way under any circumstances. Jazzers are not confrontational or competitive, that would contradict everything they stand for. The way the other musician behaved and talked in this film is not even remotely accurate AT ALL. Real musicians in REAL life, ESPECIALLY JAZZERS, are brotherly. A professor would never come into another professor's class and take over, would never physically abuse a student or yell at them this way ( with intense profanity, humiliation, and gender-insensitivity). A teacher wouldn't come in and insult the entire ensemble EVER. They would never audition them in the manner Fletcher does. They would never focus so much on the drummer, nor would they put so much emphasis on a stupid and pointless competition. The JVC Jazz festival, like any other jazz festival, does not have label-people attending to scout for new talent like baseball scouts. Labels are overrun with demo tapes and web links to downloads, and his remark that if you screw up they will remember you for the expressed purpose of denying you a deal is absolutely inane.I have NEVER seen a drummer get bloody hands just from playing fast: a stick only weighs about 2 ounces and is very smooth. Oh BTW, drummers never share sticks. Sticks are very personal, and ALL drummers, in a music program, carry a stick bag with them like a woman carries a purse. I have never seen "alternate" drummers in an ensemble or page turners for drummer. Big-band rehearsals at 9AM? Are they joking? You'd never get that many musicians to be at class that early and behave like soldiers in bootcamp, NO WAY! Are we to believe that Andrew get tossed from school, before Fletcher, because he messed up playing a song in a competition? Seriously? Even though he was bloody from a car accident? Maybe if this imaginary tale took place in hell, it would have slightly more credibility. Hollyweird NEVER portrays musicians accurately in a feature film. This is not a powerful movie, it doesn't make a point or carry any type of profound message and it doesn't portray musicians or music-schools with an accuracy at all. Im sure its fooled a lot of lay-people.
Promoting fascistic perfectionism.---It amazes me that a movie that promotes such level of fascistic perfectionism gets so much praise. I say fascistic because the sick perfectionism of Nazis was one of the main reasons they thought it is OK to gas millions of people. If you are not perfect based on our standards you don't deserve to live. This movie tells us if you are not Charlie Parker I feel free to humiliate you, insult you, hurt you and abuse you, and it is all justified because if you are Charlie Parker you don't mind this level of sick manipulation. What a disgusting message. Yes, the actors did a good job playing these sick characters, and the movie was well made, which makes it even more dangerous.
Extremely Overrated - all-around horrible---Take a cheezy D-list sports movie script complete with the cliché bullying, demeaning coach with the tormented, misunderstood athlete (reality: narcissistic, self-righteous, arrogant, spoiled and immature child who needs to grow up) -- replace these 2 characters with a jazz music "teacher" and a drum student at an "elite" music academy. Neither character has ANY redeeming qualities - if the writers thought they were creating complex, intricate characters they failed miserably. The ending only shows how pathetic both truly are. I assume the writers (and anyone giving this film a positive review) felt they reached some great epiphany at the conclusion - they didn't. Only a tired out re-tread storyline completely out of proper context. A jazz drum student and music "teacher" are not soldiers in boot camp and learning to play drums is not a physically demanding, super- human endeavor as this film tries to lead you to believe.In reality the "teacher" is a glorified conductor who thinks he's something special but does nothing but destroy his students desire and passion. He is also an admitted complete failure at his misguided goal of creating another Charlie Parker. The "student" is equally self-absorbed and rude excuse for a human being. Only thing positive is he seems to be a pretty decent jazz drummer - but that's it. Character has absolutely ZERO going for him other than that. Other than that he's completely disrespectful and dismissive of everything and everyone else.This film (along with Birdman) sums up how pretentious Hollywood is and the excrement they promote at awards shows to convince themselves they have some higher "intellect" or "artistic genius." No one will remember Whiplash or Birdman other than as an embarrassing side note in Oscar history (remember Shakespeare in Love, didn't think so - Google it).
The Glorification of Bullying in Film and Sanctioned by Hollywood---I was very surprised to see this movie do so well at the Oscars. The movie in a nutshell, to me, is exactly how NOT to teach anyone anything. The story walks you through a jazz class with a Drill Sergeant for a teacher that physically and verbally abuses his student in the name of greatness. The key message is being supportive, respectful and compassionate will get you nowhere. Hitting, abusing and destroying people will make your great! Hollywood for years has been advocating against bullying and now they give not one but three Oscar to a movie that glorifies Bullying??!! I was dumbfounded and sad. Yes, the performance s are great and the actors are very good, but no degree of acting should justify glorifying this method of teaching. What I hated most was that the movie made me like Jazz less. If this is what it takes to have great Jazz musicians then we do not need Jazz. Just to be clear. Hitting, screaming, psychological warfare, abuse and negativity DO not create great people or better musicians. They create abusive, disrespectful human beings that will continue the hate and the abuse. No wonder suicide rates for young people are high; if you are not good enough you are not worth playing, studying, living, etc. Just kill yourself. A very bad message to kids, students and teachers. Dreadful, Hollywood should be ashamed.
watching teenagers being abused---This movie tries so hard to display the hardships of training to be a musician that the whole image shifts into simple physical and mental abuse of human beings, in this case teenagers. As another reviewer said: it is the boot camp of music. I did not believe what I was seeing. If there was a movie where some dog-whisperer is hitting the dog and yelling at it and this would prove to be working as a method to 'educate' the dog, then people would be upset. But treating a human like that is OK? this just sickens me. yes, you can get humans to do some things by pushing them with violence. Get them into an obedient state of mind, that is simply following orders. But there is a reason why this strategy of motivation has proved to be only effective in the military: There, human lives are indeed worthless. This treatment will make you 'harder', meaning it will make you less of a human being.When it comes to music however it is impossible to achieve great results with these methods. It can only lead to a soul- and heartless disaster. A fitting result would have been an aggression build-up in the main character which would have prevented him from ever playing anything worth listening to again. This reaction has been seen in other movies where usually the people that are socially connected to the main character will have to suffer from the violent state of mind that this mistreatment is causing. The other possibility is a simple resignation, either by quitting music or by quitting life.But what is displayed here is wrong on many levels, because it tells you that this abuse leads to something beautiful. That it is all worth it because it pushes you to your limits and then you will be a great musician. Whoever made up this story is either suffering from a severe psychosis or has the intent to justify abusive methods in education by presenting them as effective.If you treat people with violence they will get violent too. Either towards others or towards themselves. This is the only result you will achieve. And in this case it would also completely destroy the main character's ability to be a musician. Music is not the military. You do need discipline and training, but this comes from mental strength. And you do not get stronger by being abused. It will only weaken you.It makes me sad seeing that apparently this movie is entertaining to people. This can only be the case if they do not see the utter failure in judgment that is presented here. And if they do not see it then they are blind in a way that is worrying.
Unrealistic---I just can not understand how this movie does get so much acclaim. The whole movie is just so unrealistic. I have learned and practiced 2 instruments here in Europe and can only say when I watch how this Shaffer character treats musicians like football players, this would never work. In such an environment any musician would get so tense and so full of fear to fail, he would certainly do exactly that. This is not how musicality and technique is teached. Never. Music is not sports. What Shaffer does may create a robot band that plays precise like a computer. But the music that comes out that way will sound alike. People in music are sensitive. Teaching is a process of mutual understanding, respecting and elevating between teacher and student.Further, a good drum technique with speed is not achieved by such tensioned convulsion, it needs the right finger and hand control and swing.The acting is certainly admirable but the cuts are sometimes worse then just distracting.