Every school has its class nerd, and Rushmore, a prestigious private school, has Max Fischer. He’s bright – he won a scholarship to Rushmore – he looks the part, and he loves the school, but his grades are poor and his extracurricular activities lead the headmaster, Dr Guggenheim, to threaten him with expulsion. Max befriends Herman Blume, a wealthy but unhappy industrialist who is one of the school’s chief benefactors, and becomes besotted with his teacher, Rosemary Cross. But Rosemary would rather have Herman than a 15-year-old schoolboy, and Max and Herman become rivals engaging in tit-for-tat hostilities.
The high-school comedy is a familiar genre, ‘boy grows up’ is a familiar story, but while the precocious Max is a strong protagonist blessed (or not) with awesome self-assurance, it’s not all his film. The adults are more than just foils for his youth, and the tentative affair between Herman and Rosemary is in many ways the heart of the picture. Part of Max’s rite of passage is his growing understanding of Herman’s loneliness and the realisation that ‘love hurts’. But the film can’t keep a straight face for long, and the outcome is unexpectedly happy.
Rushmore, as they say, has divided the critics. Some have called it a hilarious, quirky comedy that will become a classic; others have called it a mediocre film with good bits in it (notably the central performances and the music); some have simply found it tediously unfunny. But director Wes Anderson is a new voice who seems to be gathering talented actors and technicians around him; while not everyone agrees that Rushmore is worth watching, Anderson may well be.
Max Fischer: Jason Schwartzman
Rosemary Cross: Olivia Williams
Herman Blume: Bill Murray
Margaret Yang: Sara Tanaka
Director: Wes Anderson
Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Owen Wilson
Photography: Robert Yeoman
“Very enjoyable – a sort of young Woody Allen?”
“A dream childhood for [a] Woody Allen”
“What a singularly nasty little nerd!”
“A weak storyline ….”
“The sort of film that you’d switch off after 10 minutes if it were on TV !!”