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      The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

      PG Released Mar 2, 1969 1h 56m Drama List
      84% Tomatometer 19 Reviews 85% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith) is a free-spirited teacher at a Scottish girls' school during the 1930s. She encourages her young pupils to embrace romantic ideals, educating them about love and art rather than hard facts. However, her controversial teaching philosophy draws the ire of the school's headmistress, Miss Mackey (Celia Johnson), and, as Miss Brodie becomes entangled in a love triangle, her behavior towards her favorite students becomes increasingly manipulative. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (19) Critics Reviews
      Variety Staff Variety Maggie Smith's tour-de-force performance as a school-teacher slipping into spinsterhood is one of several notable achievements in this sentimental and macabre personal tragedy. Jun 12, 2008 Full Review Derek Adams Time Out Maggie Smith is handed a part in the eccentric, trite, purposeful and finally pathetic Jean Brodie which allows her to play to all her considerable strengths. Jun 24, 2006 Full Review Nell Minow Movie Mom Rated: 4/5 Dec 5, 2002 Full Review Paul Schrader Los Angeles Free Press Miss [Maggie] Smith's performance is in the best English tradition of such elocutionary actresses as Beatrice Lilly and Edith Evans. Jan 24, 2020 Full Review Jesús Fernández Santos El Pais (Spain) In her role, Maggie Smith doesn't convince. She sounds theatrical and artificial, especially in front of her students. [Full Review in Spanish] Jul 23, 2019 Full Review Tomas Trussow The Lonely Film Critic Growing up and leaving our childhoods behind is such a furious tangle of triumph and heartbreak, and this seemingly innocuous story about a capricious teacher and her doting girls captures it all so succinctly, and so beautifully. Rated: 4.5/5 Jun 26, 2019 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      CodyZamboni This movie was not what I expected. Film has stellar acting, but also an unsettling creepy vibe, Jean Brodie at her "prime" is insane, arrogant, controlling, knows nothing of world politics in her support of fascists, and her naive students worship her. She corrupts their minds with her crazy world views. That said, Maggie Smith hits a homerun with her performance of a deeply flawed human. Kudos also to Pamela Franklin as a nerdy, but attractive student whose subplot also adds to the creep factor. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 08/01/23 Full Review isla s This is a film primarily concerned with social issues of its time (its set in Edinburgh in the 1930s and released in the late 1960s). I liked the characters - both the titular character, Miss Jean Brodie and also the various school pupils she takes under her wing, so to speak. Most of the dialogue is quite prim and proper style, its not exactly full of strong Scottish accents, which may or may not be a relief to some. Of course the school Brodie teaches at is a private school. I thought it was intriguing how Brodie taught 'her children'/pupils her viewpoints on how to be seen, behave, how to interact with others, ultimately to help the pupils be taken more seriously, I'd like to think. I liked, respected even how she responded to other adults questioning her - including people of authority. Its fair to say she's somewhat outspoken, considering the time its set in. I respect Jean Brodie as a character, as someone who doggedly stands her ground. There are some really quite mild sex references and scenes featuring partial nudity and a risk of sexual violence, which was perhaps a little unsettling but there's nothing especially graphic really, although it certainly highlights that some persistent men would pester people like Jean Brodie. Its true to say that Miss Brodie is a bit too focussed on romantic ideologies than realities, perhaps. Also there are some good quotes present, which I imagine you can get from IMDB or elsewhere. Its a thought provoking drama that I quite enjoyed, so I'd recommend it on that basis. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review steve d Surprisingly powerful and beautifully acted. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review Audience Member What a wonderful, subversive piece of filmmaking. Walking into this film I expected to find a traditional British drama that was utterly stuffy and repressed in addition to featuring a Dead Poets Society (1989) style protagonist who is a saintly educator. Instead I got a comedy-drama that managed to go very dark without losing a sense of humor and allowed for acting that while theatrical fit the tone of the film and was worthy of the cinematic experience. The film is possibly most remembered for being the film that earned the legendary Maggie Smith her first of two Academy Awards and while I adore Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) I would say that she earned this recognition. Charismatic but slightly batty teacher Jean Brodie, Maggie Smith, believes she is in her ‘prime' and attempts to influence her favorite students, the intelligent Sandy, Pamela Franklin, the shy Mary, Jane Carr, the beautiful Jenny, Diane Grayson, and the easily influenced Monica, Shirley Steedman. She advocates for fascism and discusses classical arts instead of teaching the history that is expected of her drawing the ire of headmistress Miss Mackay, Celia Johnson. Brodie has also engaged in an affair with married art teacher Teddy Lloyd, Robert Stephens, who is obsessed with her and has a relationship with choir leader Gordon Lowther, Gordon Jackson, who owns a house that she takes the girls to during the weekends. Eventually it is Sandy, sick of having her life dictated by Brodie, who turns against her after she causes a devastating event that impacts the girls a lot. The film feels like it comes from the point of view of an adult looking back on their school years as we see how they are at first awed by this larger than life figure but begin to see the flaws in her character as they grow older and yet understand that their influence will always stay with them. I liked the fact that we see the dramas that the girls face in relation to Brodie as much as we see Brodie's own personal life. The stolen moments of the girls discussing the sex life of Brodie or of them writing a joking love letter which they then quickly hide in a book after being disciplined in the library added to the realism of the film. This movie works so much better than those films that view the experience of school life through the eyes of the adults as we can all relate to the strange relationship that these girls have to their teacher. The comedy of the film works brilliantly as it is dry and British so you may miss it if you are not looking close enough but the sight of Smith raving about the brilliance of Mussolini elicited more laughter in me than several other so called comedies I have seen recently. It was also easy to titter as we hear the young girls discuss how one should not be intimidated by the sight of a penis while a lascivious but ultimately harmless older man watches over them. Another element of the genius of the film is that it slides from comedy to drama skillfully as you never feel as though you are stepping into a film that isn't aware of the ridiculousness of it's central character while also appreciating the sadness of her situation. Smith's performance should not be underestimated in how deliberate and self aware it is as she carries herself as a woman who refuses to accept the realities of the world and who holds a dangerous amount of sway over those around her. The accent is thick and the hand gestures very showy but you quickly stop being distracted by that as you settle into Smith delivery some juicy, humorous dialogue immediately followed by scenes in which she has dramatic showdowns with Johnson. Johnson also stands out as an impressive sporting player as she is sympathetic and an absolute horror to our main character at once, she achieves the balance perfectly as we want to see her take her foe down but are simultaneously frustrated by her rigidity. Pamela Franklin shines in an early supporting role as the complex Sandy as she gives one of the most convincing portrayals of a teenager I have ever seen. Obviously, I adore this film and I would absolutely recommend that people see this even if they don't love British dramas as much as I do. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member The best comedy movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: Jean! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Kay W I really enjoyed watching this. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 11/12/18 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith) is a free-spirited teacher at a Scottish girls' school during the 1930s. She encourages her young pupils to embrace romantic ideals, educating them about love and art rather than hard facts. However, her controversial teaching philosophy draws the ire of the school's headmistress, Miss Mackey (Celia Johnson), and, as Miss Brodie becomes entangled in a love triangle, her behavior towards her favorite students becomes increasingly manipulative.
      Ronald Neame
      Robert Fryer, James Gesson
      20th Century Fox
      Production Co
      20th Century Fox
      Original Language
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Mar 2, 1969, Original
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Aug 2, 2020
      1h 56m