"[25], Forrest Wickman of Slate said the film distorted jazz history and promoted a misleading idea of genius. [33], Whiplash was originally planned to compete for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but on January 6, 2015, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that the film would instead be competing in the Adapted Screenplay[a] category[34] to the surprise of many, including Chazelle. Andrew believes Connolly is a less talented drummer than he and is infuriated when Fletcher promotes Connolly to core. [1] The 18-minute short film received acclaim after debuting at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, winning the short film Jury Award for fiction,[9] which attracted investors to produce the complete version of the script. Compare Whiplash. Somewhat late in the development of Andrew’s story, a minor character named “Sean Casey” is introduced. While attending Princeton High School, writer-director Damien Chazelle was in a "very competitive" jazz band and drew on the dread he felt in those years. Andrew Neiman is a first-year student at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory in New York City. For those of us lucky few who have been able to devote our professional lives to music, many factors beyond supposed talent or natural selection are involved, often beyond one’s personal control. After a successful performance, Fletcher promotes Andrew to core drummer for the Studio Band, but he also recruits Ryan Connolly, the core drummer from a lower-level ensemble within the conservatory. After a five-hour session with Tanner and Connolly for the core spot, in which Fletcher hurls chairs and screams at them, Andrew finally earns back the core spot. Relationships, friendships or other trappings of a normal life disappear under the weight of naked ambition; other humans matter only to the extent they can further one’s career. Some use personality stereotypes, based on just a few tawdry attributes, to demean and humiliate the student and flaunt their own power. And he reminds me of certain other key folks I’ve met along the way, folks who have steadfastly mentored me in the art of refusing to allow circumstances (past or present) or others’ opinions to define my worth or potential. Have you ever had mentors who seemed to be treating you very harshly, only to later find out those mentors had their own reasons for such treatment? All of which he justifies (at least outwardly) by the old lie that he is pushing students to get the best results. Fletcher is taken aback but resumes conducting. This is often prompted by the terror and paranoia engendered by repeated psychological, physical or sexual abuse, as well as the cripplingly low self-esteem that can result. [5], In August 2013, Miles Teller signed on to star in the role originated by Johnny Simmons; J. K. Simmons remained attached to his original role. I want to see a monster, a gargoyle, an animal." A more devastatingly incisive rendition – the most realistic rendition of the culture of the conservatory I have yet seen on film – is Isabelle Huppert’s portrayal of the monstrous Erika in The Piano Teacher. Why would Fletcher lie about this? The film received widespread critical acclaim, with particular praise for Simmons's performance, Cross' editing, and Chazelle's screenplay. Neyman desperately wants to rise above the mediocrity he sees in his family and those around him. In March 2013 Michael Brewer, a former music teacher at Chetham’s school of music was jailed for 6 years after abusing a student who took her own life during the trial; a further teacher at the school (my own conducting teacher there) was jailed for 8 months in September 2014 after admitting to sexually assaulting a student when she was a child. 8th – Matthew Jacobs & Christopher Rosen. "[27] Henry Barnes of The Guardian gave the film a positive review, calling it a rare film "about music that professes its love for the music and its characters equally. "[24] Whiplash also won the 87th Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing and the 87th Academy Award for Best Film Editing. In Whiplash,when Fletcher talks about the passing of his former pupil Sean Casey, he says he died in a "car accident." While jazz has occasionally been taught in such institutions ever since the first course in Frankfurt in 1928, it has remained marginal until quite recently. Andrew’s story picks up again from here, and the film lets us wonder right up until the final scenes which way he will go. It is important to note that the conservatory environment portrayed here belongs historically to classical musicians. Educational breadth is needed to enable students to flourish as whole people, not just performing machines. he failed with sean because he ended his life before he could be remembered for his greatness. After Fletcher cues to last beat of the piece, Andrew continues playing, continuing into an extended solo. "[29] Jazz bassist Adam Neely said the film presented an inaccurate depiction of modern music education, as well as the tastes, attitudes, and subculture of actual jazz musicians. "[20] Simmons received wide praise for his performance and won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. A series of women have come forward to attest to their abuse at the hands of former Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, the late Marcel Gazelle, while many men came forward too with horrifying stories about the late Alan Doggett, the major conductor for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and former music director at Colet Court School, following investigations by myself and The Times. This is why, to me at least, the focus on jazz and the rigors of conservatory life is but a shallow subtext to the real story of “Whiplash,” a movie that depicts through stark and unrelenting human meanness what it sometimes takes to survive and thrive. Although his methods might be exaggerated, such abuse of power does regularly occur and the film should not be dismissed as entirely fictional. But this will only happen when the musical professions take real steps to reform a brutalising and dehumanising range of practices and attitudes, the justifications for which are no more convincing than those of Fletcher. He carried out the assaults in sound-proofed practise rooms in the 1970s and 1980s. When Andrew asks if his methods would instead discourage students, Fletcher replies that the next Charlie Parker would never be discouraged. "[23] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praised the performances of Teller and Simmons, writing: "Teller, who greatly impressed in last year's Sundance entry The Spectacular Now, does so again in a performance that is more often simmering than volatile ... Simmons has the great good fortune for a character actor to have here found a co-lead part he can really run with, which is what he excitingly does with a man who is profane, way out of bounds and, like many a good villain, utterly compelling. [15][14] Chazelle was involved in a serious car accident in the third week of shooting and was hospitalized with possible concussion, but he returned to set the next day to finish the film on time. Learn more. He rents a car but arrives late and realizes he left his drumsticks at the rental office. ", "Making of 'Whiplash': How a 20-Something Shot His Harrowing Script in Just 19 Days", "Talking animals with Zootopia's Creative Minds", "Listen to a Bonus Track from New Expanded "Whiplash" Soundtrack Album", "J. K. Simmons on Playing a 'Real' Villain in, "Whiplash: Sundance 2014 – first look review", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFYBVGdB7MU, http://www.villagevoice.com/filmpoll/view/critics/David+Ansen/2014, "Sundance 2014 winners: 'Whiplash' wins big", "Oscar surprise: 'Whiplash' deemed an adapted screenplay by Academy", "Academy & WGA At Odds Over 'Whiplash' Screenplay; Will It Hurt Oscar Chances? She uses the language and rhetoric of musical discernment and sophistication to undermine the confidence and sense of self of those she resents and envies. The film grossed $49 million on a production budget of $3.3 million. I have been involved in as a campaigner and researcher on the subject of abuse in music education for several years. Write an article and join a growing community of more than 115,800 academics and researchers from 3,764 institutions. Fletcher explains his dismissal from Shaffer and admits that his teaching methods were harsh, but everything he did was only so that his students would push themselves to become their absolute best, referencing Charlie Parker's rise to fame as an example. And so alongside the rosters of starry names brandished in conservatories’ publicity material, their legacy is equally to be found in the other alumni who are left bereft and disillusioned. Erika is a bitter and twisted woman utterly unfit for teaching. We follow a student jazz drummer, Andrew Neiman, as he is driven to the edge by tyrannical teacher Terence Fletcher.