School of Rock (2003)

School of Rock (2003)

2003 PG-13 108 Minutes

Comedy | Music

Fired from his band and hard up for cash, guitarist and vocalist Dewey Finn finagles his way into a job as a fourth-grade substitute teacher at a private school, where he secretly begins teaching h...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: Stories about characters pursuing or giving up on their dreams are always compelling, and Richard Linklater's 'School of Rock,' is no exception. Dewey (Jack Black) starts out as a failing rock and roll star, living on the floor of his friend's apartment and angrily preaching about the divine power of his artform. So you'd expect that over the course of the film he would continually struggle to make it work and then eventually come to the conclusion that either there's more to life than his dreams, or that he should never, ever give up on them. But instead, he rather brilliantly finds a compromise and a new way of living out his dreams by helping a class of schoolkids form a band after blagging his way to a substitute teaching job for a bit of extra cash.

    That's engaging because on the one hand there's something powerful and heart-warming about a person who never gives up. Dewey talks constantly about rock and roll like a religion, and when he's playing music his face lights up (and that strikes a particular chord with the rock and roll fanatic in myself). But it's also great because he realises that passing that passion onto others is what's important, not the method by which you do it, so his developing relationship with the schoolchildren is brilliant.

    Of course, much hilarity ensues from having a wannabe rock and roller storm into a school like that - particularly a very snooty private school headed by Joan Cusack - and Jack Black predictably plays it up rather well. But more than that, it's engaging because the kids get so much from the freedom that rock and roll allows them, and they get swept up in the dream of it too; variably going from wildly unconfident or stressed, to having a bunch of fun and rocking out hard. When, against the wishes of their headteacher, they inevitably come together for their final performance, it's a brilliant thing. Dewey hasn't given up, but has parted his dream onto others, and everyone benefits in a beautifully uncynical celebration of the power of dreams - and rock and roll.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Black's performance is more hammy than a 2-hour Queen show at Wembley... but then I'm not sure you have to call that a criticism here.

    VERDICT: The brilliant 'School of Rock,' says don't give up if you can't succeed, just pass your dream onto others. When said dream is Rock and Roll, that's a message I whole-heartedly endorse.