Wes Andersons Rushmore is an appealing and skillful movie. It has that quality that tells you there is something very special about this film, rather than it being just another teen movie that we see every day. The genius of this film, and the true reason for Rushmores originality, is that it manages to entertain us even without us having to actually getting it completely.
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The film is about Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a 15 year-old student who attends Rushmore and has all the ambition in the world but no concentration. He is a member of every club in school but he is failing most of his classes apart from drama. He loves to put on elaborate productions of classic films. Max lies to everyone by telling them that his father (Seymour Cassel) is a brain surgeon but in reality, he is a barber. Max is simply blown away by Mr. Blume’s (Bill Murray) speech at Rushmore and introduces himself. Mr. Blume decides to mentor Max out of pity and loneliness. Shortly after they become friends, they both fall in love for a beautiful new first-grade teacher at Rushmore named Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams). Their friendship quickly turns to a war as they try to win her over. Max refuses to believe that his age has anything to do with Miss Cross refusing to love him. This leads to immense consequences as Mr. Blume’s family life disintegrates and Max loses his best friend.
There are many devices that Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson use in Rushmore to advance the understanding of the film. First, instances of literary devices used are characterization and plot. They do an amazing job in making sure that every single character in the film grows over the course of the film. Moreover, it is incredibly interesting to see that every character in the film has a “Rushmore”. thus, every character has something that they want in the film and ultimately wants and by the end, each one of them gets it. For example, Blume’s “Rushmore” was Miss Cross. Max is embarrassment that he goes to Rushmore with a scholarship and that his father is a barber as covers it by telling everyone that his father is a neurosurgeon. These two characters are performed amazingly by both actors, which really make us comprehend them. The plot of the film was truly amazing and original. The heart of the movie, for me, was not only how charming or quirky Max is but also how Max’s fascinations are fueled just as much by sadness as by selfishness. When he tells Miss Cross that Harvard is his safety school if he does not get into Oxford, this is not only to impress her but this is really the high standard he holds himself to. This is due to his mother who died of cancer, because she was the one who encouraged him to write plays and helped him get into Rushmore,. We can appreciate this film from the beginning from Max’s planned battle of distraction from genuine pain. We follow along in the film as the colors are washed out as soon as Max is expelled from Rushmore, and we do not see them return until the end when Mr. Blume gets a haircut. Everything gets darker and duller in the film after Max is expelled from Rushmore. Wes Anderson has done an amazing job with the plot. It is like nothing we see in theatres today. It has something different and original about it that really makes the story interesting and funny. The setting is always very unique and intriguing. The main two places that the film takes place in is Rushmore and Grover Cleveland High School. There are big differences between these two schools and it is clearly shown during the film. At Grover Cleveland High School, we see the rusted sign that hangs on a chain-link fence, which shows the conditions inside where students are subjected to search for weapons and drugs. The school is practically a prison. Compared to at Rushmore, we can see the clear difference between the two schools. Rushmore has a perfect sign that is hung on an iron fence with an amazingly cared for landscape. The two contrasting settings clearly show what Max has lost when he was expelled from Rushmore.
A problem that I noticed in the continuity of the film was at a certain moment, Max uses a ladder to enter Miss Cross’ house and he leaves without going down the stairs, by walking out of the front door. This to me was a very big mistake that should have been fixed. It didn’t take anything from the film, but it was something that I noticed. In addition, I really liked how there was a timeline in the film, showing sequences and narrations. The progression by months and how it was introduced with movie curtains, related back to Max loving to direct plays and was a great addition to this terrific film.
The film shows the audience the story not tell it to us. Rushmore is Max’s life; he simply cannot live without it. He has dedicated lots of time and energy in that school because he enjoys it. The audience gets to see and experience Max’s delusional view of the world from the beginning when we see him dream about completing a very difficult math problem in class. Anderson and Wilson decided to convey Max’s delusional view of the world visually. The viewer can immediately identify with Max to see where his character is coming from because he is actually shown by how Max perceives the world. Another instance is when Max is put on academic probation and needs to improve his marks or he will be expelled from Rushmore. The principal explains that Max has too many extracurricular activities and not enough studying. Anderson and Wilson brilliantly show the viewer all of Max’s extracurricular activities instead of just simply having the principal say them. If the principal would have just listed the activities, they wouldn’t have truly grasps Max’s role and dedication to Rushmore but by showing the audience every activity, we can understand the amount of devotion he has for this school. Max’s really cares and loves Rushmore. This film has an amazing script. Anderson and Wilson took every opportunity to show us visually the story. As a result, every single line of dialogue in this film has a purpose, which makes the film crisp and never drag. In the end, the viewer is left with an amazing story that is wonderfully created through visuals and writing. The dialogue in the film is very monotone, except for at the dinner table. I found it quite natural and normal. It seems as when Max speaks to his peers, he speaks above his peers with a sense of superiority in his voice. In addition, when Max’s speaks to his father, it is very quiet and ashamed. The dialogue changes when he talks to Ms. Cross and especially when it becomes super awkward which shows that he likes her. Just to briefly mention lightning, it was much brighter at Rushmore and inside it. It was very colourful and happy inside the school because it represents that he really loves it at Rushmore. In comparison to outside where it is a bit darker showing how he is unhappy.
Last, some cinematic devices used are music, sound and camera angle. The music in this film is very key. One of the best part of music in the film is the part when Max’s is feeling his first rejection from Miss Cross and the song “I Am Waiting” by the Rolling Stones plays. Max is experiencing his first pain and this song could be representing Max and how he is waiting to become the person he is supposed to be. There is also the part when Murray’s face changes into one that shows his desire for true vengeance against Max. This is when the song “A Quick One While He’s Away” by The Who plays. This music goes perfectly with the scene and wanting revenge. There are many sounds that are put and used in the perfect times. When Max shows Ms. Cross the book, there is a dancing ballerina box sort of sound on. The sounds are often of bells and charms showing the innocent, young and juvenile of this film. Also, it seems to become quiet and quite silent during awkward moments in the film. For example, during many conversations with Ms. Cross, such as the one in the library or times in her classroom. The music and sound are very innocent, playful and somewhat cheesy and awkward to fit in with the story. It goes very well with this coming of age film. The camera angle does not seem to change that much in the film. Anderson uses anamorphic wide-angle lenses and there is hardly anything but wide-angle lenses in the film. Most of it is wide-angle lenses to be able to show his(Max’s) world/school and not have it be a straight horizontal line. I did find that it was a bit overboard and that it was at some points annoying because of the exaggerated wide-angle lenses. It felt like I was removed from the character at certain points.
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Wes Anderson’s story displays the importance of being able to do things yourself. With Max’s wild and bizarre imagination, we can see Max being an awful lot like Wes Anderson as a kid. This movie was clearly created based on personal experiences, which is shown throughout the film since he was inside the head of the character the entire film. There is no way for someone to be able to think of this without experiencing this first hand. This film truly tries to blurs the line between childhood and adulthood. In order for Max to grow up, he needs to first accept that his father is not a brain surgeon, he cannot have a romantic relationship with a woman far older than him and he will never be able to return to Rushmore. Max’s maturity throughout the film is shown in different ways. He begins by stopping the war between Mr. Blume and himself and actually starts to help him out rather than destroy him. He also starts to write stories of his own, instead of basing them from famous films. The film shows that there might not be a line between kids and adults and that sometimes the kids are more mature than the adults are, as we say with the actions of Mr. Blume.
Ultimately, Rushmore is an unusual and wacky movie but still an appealing and out of the ordinary film. It talks about many important themes and is acted by brilliantly talented actors. The three main characters together are amazing and their affection and frustration with each other is so intense throughout the film. This story is absolutely funny while still examining love, anger and imagination like we have never seen. Max is so geeky and weird that the audience cannot help but feel for him. Everything from the writing to the music in this film is done marvellously. You definitely should go and watch this film. You won’t regret it.
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