Detachment

 (116)
7.71 h 37 min2012X-Ray16+
A Tribeca Film. Adrien Brody (in his most acclaimed performance since The Pianist), Marcia Gay Harden & Christina Hendricks star in this award-winning drama about teachers and students in a troubled high school. From the director of American History X.
Directors
Austin Stark
Starring
Adrien BrodyTony KayeMarcia Gay Harden
Genres
DramaArthouse
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Christina Hendricks
Producers
Benji KohnChris PapavasiliouBingo GubelmannGreg Shapiro
Studio
Tribeca Film
Content advisory
Alcohol usenudityfoul languagesexual contentviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

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Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

116 global ratings

  1. 63% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 11% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Deb2theCReviewed in the United States on February 5, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A look at my own life in it's entirety. I'm not dead yet and don't expect to be any time soon, BUT--
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This showed me how life can be if you take the time to make it be a good life or if you don't take the time to make it so. From childhood--to teen years--to adulthood--to our inevitable slide into our elderly years! I'm now in those elderly years and I so connected with every bit of what was depicted in this film. Molested as a child-raped as an adolescent (nearly died as a result of that assault). Married too young to a man who was entirely wrong for me because I felt worthless and undeserving of anything better. I am now elderly and live; as "Grampa" did, in an assisted living facility where, if I'm lucky, I see family once in a while, but not nearly enough. The staff breezes in and out of my room as if any person could change bodies with me one one day and no-one would even notice the new body. I feel rather pointless in this part of my life--rather redundant and non-purposeful. I have no-one to devote myself to entirely any more and I almost wish "my time" would come and I could just exit this world and get it over with. The only thing is I don't feel as if I've accomplished what I was sent here to do in the first place. This film is excellnt! Makes you THINK!! which is rare in the age we live in!!!
** THE MOOD I"M IN IN THIS REVIEW IS VERY REFLECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT I LOST MY FATHER AT (! YEARS OF AGE IN NOV. AND I MISS HIM VERY MUCH--GIVE THE FILM A TRY--IT'S WORTH THE TIME YOU'LL SPEND ON IT**
10 people found this helpful
Margie M DavisReviewed in the United States on March 25, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Where are the parents? The Key
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Detachment was written, directed, acted in by folks who must see and feel the need for a real family. It doesn't have to be the cookie cutter mom, dad, sisters, brothers, grandparents, etc...A family is others who care so much they take time to understand and try to relate to what is central in our lives. That's what Adrian Brody's character was: a one person family. Being a teacher for 38 years and now retired, I understand how true teachers must want the best, to see the best, promote the best and think the best of their students...but we have to stay detached to a certain point. Much of the detachment happens when a child has a sad family life and has no support. Like Brody, teachers want to help but there's a fine line we can't cross. Every college student studying education should view this film. All of the problems that Brody's character deals with are brought about by parents who care about their own needs and not their children's. Some parents are just ignorant and it's not all their fault. It's their upbringing that teaches them to expect nothing of their kids, expect life to be handed to them with little effort and blame everyone else for the troubles they've seen. And then there are times when there is no parent just as there are times when a child doesn't have a decent teacher. It's a vicious cycle. Detachment is an awakening to the education system that started declining about 15 years ago--maybe earlier and as I watched I could relate and wonder why would anyone want to be an educator in today's world. 4 stars for Brody's depiction; the fifth star couldn't shine due to the stereotypical characters in the school administration. Hollywood went a little overboard in that department but it's true that schools everywhere have some lousy admins just biding time and collecting a check. Thank you Adrian for accepting this role.
7 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on January 2, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A troubled man teaching at a troubled school
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Adrian Brody is a substitute teacher in New York City. He’s got a new assignment at a struggling school. The movie goes back and forth between Brody teaching his English class, giving reflections about education, and his day to day life.

The film does capture the job of a substitute well. As Brody tells the camera there is no responsibility to educate kids as a substitute but rather to just keep order and make sure no one kills themselves.

What it gets completely wrong is when a school official comes to talk about new curriculum to boost test scores for the No Child Left Behind law. He talks about real estate values and offends the staff. In real life No Child Left Behind led to all kinds of threats against the staff and administration unless they raised scores and teaching to the test which left no room for creativity or interesting lessons. It does deal with that in another part of the film however when the principal gets in trouble for how the school is doing.

Brody’s personal life is also engaging. He had a troubled upbringing which haunts him shown by a series of flashbacks and images of him as a little kid. It creates empathy for his character. It also creates a connection between Brody and the school he’s in which are both full of problems.

It’s an interesting portrayal.
C
2 people found this helpful
Christina ReynoldsReviewed in the United States on September 10, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Tread with Caution
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𝑾𝒆 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒂 𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒃𝒊𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒕𝒐 𝒈𝒖𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒅𝒐𝒏'𝒕 𝒆𝒏𝒅 𝒖𝒑 𝒇𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕, 𝒇𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆, 𝒃𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒈𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏𝒕

Detachment is a 2011 American drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by Carl Lund. Its story follows Henry Barthes, a high-school substitute teacher who becomes a role model to his students and others. It stars Adrien Brody, Marcia Gay Harden, Christina Hendricks, William Petersen, Bryan Cranston, Tim Blake Nelson, Betty Kaye, Sami Gayle, Lucy Liu, Blythe Danner, and James Caan.

A fan of 𝑨𝒎𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝑯𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝑿, my admiration for Tony Kaye’s gumption for hard hitters is not present without criticism. Perhaps the blame is best out in the hand of Carl Lund, but 𝑫𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 is accurately described as a clown car of catharsis: moving from point A to point B without an unclear set of directions (whilst donning a flashing red nose) leading the way. As with Derek Vinyard (everyone’s favorite Neo-Nazi,if such a thing is even possible), the relationship developed between Henry and the people forced on him by both obligation and happenchance are as convincing as they are lethargic : very obviously developing outside of what is being shown on screen when the context calls for more heavily engaging continuity as to opposed to illusively present suggestions.

𝑨𝒅𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏 𝑩𝒓𝒐𝒅𝒚, 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒅𝒐 𝑰 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒆, 𝒍𝒆𝒕 𝒎𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔…
Following in the footsteps of 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑷𝒊𝒂𝒏𝒊𝒔𝒕, Brody’s performance (amongst others) proves successful as an empathetic wormhole. Despite being transiently balanced, 𝑫𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕’s cast rests nonchalantly on the heels of pensivity with an obvious dedication to the subject matter and complexity of Lund’s script.
The mumblecore of madness remains compromised throughout, however. As if in step with the pacing, 𝑫𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 is an assortment of emotions that reflect a chaotic and irritably fleeting environment, but the nature in which they are reflect seems largely removed from reality. It would only be fair to acknowledge that Lund’s vision is often in the right place (And this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since he has had previous employment as a school teacher himself) in that it addresses the furtive influence of adverse experiences like general trauma - but the extremities ignore clarity in favor of threatening obscurity in unabashedly compartmentalized proportions.

It’s hard to write this without inadvertently invalidating the experience of those in academic related field as I know far too well that I am an outsider in this regard, and perhaps much of what I’m saying should be taken with a grain of salt.
At the risk of being out of pocket, I’ll start by suggesting that 𝑫𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕 has many things to say about a system caught in the middle of extenuating obstacles and ever crumbling confines.
And, on one hand, I get it. In a perfect world the situations audience members are forced to witness would be a two-way street with flawlessly applied asphalt.
That said: I wasn’t expecting this.
I surmised well in advance that Henry’s influence on others would be bloated, and it’s completely reasonable to assume that people with a teacher (Or student, actually) that they would describe as changing the trajectory of their entire lives will read through the lines and find meaning amongst the monotony.
What an absolute clustf***, however. I consider myself far from squeamish, but 𝑫𝒆𝒕𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕’s obsession with depravity is borderline compulsive. What is received are not tragedies skirted (rather lazily, mind you) by silver-linings, but an endless slideshow of ‘worst-case’ scenarios driving the functionality (or lack thereof, actually) of its character all of the way home.
(No, really, there’s a part where a child beats a cat to death with a hammer. But I digress 🙃🙃🙃)

If you look up the word ‘Detachment’ in the dictionary this film is likely to come up -
And not because it’s a perfect representation of the word, but because it is instead an aloof attempt amongst other things. With every inch of melodrama the tenacious grip it has on its subject matter slips through it fingers, and much like a stubborn onion it has a variety of layers to offer:
But where the cross-section should be accompanied with tears, it is instead eradicated by inflation.
errin spellingReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
trauma, trauma and more trauma
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that is what my love said. we thought it was a comedy. it's the opposite. it was a very good film and very well acted. it rips your heart out though. at one point, we just started laughing, when the principal was so depressed , she had to lie down , on the floor, to make the school announcements.brody was a kind teacher and so were most at this school and you see , what the world is going through and how horrible their lives are and the teens. the teens have miserable lives, because of the parents, in this movie. not one parent, in the entire school showed up for the parent teacher conferences.tormenting is the word I would use for this movie.
2 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on August 1, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great acting from Adrien Brody as usual
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Brody really knows how to act these dramatic, angsty roles with an actual complexity of character. He plays the role of Henry, a substitute teacher with a lot of unaddressed trauma. Henry is neither a good teacher nor a bad one. He's more like Jesus Christ, and he spends much of the movie firmly nailed to the cross of his own suffering and that of the world around him. In that sense, there good and the bad guys are clearly defined. The good being the magnanimous Henry Barthes, and the bad being the intractable mess of parents, teachers, students, bureaucrats, politicians, poverty, and inequality that is American public education.

About midway through the movie, we see a more nuanced side of Henry when a fellow teacher walks in on him comforting a female student in a hesitant embrace. He lashes out at being thought of as a pervert, especially given how his recently passed grandfather is implied to have sexually abused Henry's mother as a child. Is he really so noble or is his kindly stoicism a defense mechanism? Isn’t the concept of compassionate detachment oxymoronic? Henry may give selflessly to others, but when they demand too much, he pulls the rug out.

Ironically the most gripping scene didn't even involve the main character at all, where Dr. Parker, the school guidance counselor, goes ballistic when a student complains that she doesn’t like school and wants to be a model, screaming hysterically that the girl is a shallow, disgusting creature.

Perhaps the main question of this movie is, "who really is the detached person here?". Is it the parents, the students, the world itself?
One person found this helpful
NilsReviewed in the United States on May 14, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great perspective!
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This shows the great moral decline in our society. And that we are all OK with this..whether by our own actions (abuses of all sorts which we are ALL guilty of) and our inactions..meaning allowing others to abuse others, and allowing ourselves to continue to detach more and more (e.g. become more and more numb to life).

I'm 45, and have heard over the last 25 years that society is awakening to something bigger and better. This has not only been mentioned by those close to me..family and friends..but also big names in the personal development industry (and relating fields) of every sort, from god-fearing, to universalists, to mystics. THEY ARE ALL WRONG!!! If they would open their eyes and stop wanting to pad their wallets they would be honest. Honesty is the most important thing we need right now. Read some of these reviews that say the issue is in only some families.."but my family and I we are doing great". I could talk to them for five minutes and point out how abusive they are amongst their family and friends.

Society is in the worst state it has ever been in with this complete disconnect. The smiling faces on social media prove most everyone is doing good or better...what a load of elephant dung!!!

Because of this blindness, these lies we tell ourselves so we can sleep at night, this apathy, things will never get better...ONLY WORSE!

No one wants to take a stand. No one truly wants to live this life. Everyone wants to walk blindly, feeling as little as possible, to their deathbed. Trust me if you weren't you would know me and we would be taking a stand together for truth, honesty and most of all TRUE LOVE, not this fake crap that everyone is holding on to sooo tightly so they can check that box of requirements to be a "decent human being.

The end of humanity happens not because of corrupt governments, religions, schools...humanity ends because we as humanities brothers and sisters let it die. Humanity will die because WE ALLOWED IT!!! Each one of us! You, me, our parents, siblings, children, friends, neighbors, fellow community members.

I'm sure if anyone got this far reading this you will just return to your life and continue in the spiraling down of society. But if you want to be one of the rare..very rare.. few who actually truly love your life and truly love all those around you and are truly honest with yourself that things continue to worsen, then contact me.

Things can always turn around when there are people who know who they are, are striving to be who they are, not some hoaky person that just wants to be different just to be different, but knows who they are and that everyone is very similar to them, same immense value, same creativity abilities, same great intelligence, importance.

Sorry to be so bold but if you have the hippie vibe you have a ways to go before you can offer much to society. This change requires REAL Love, not "hippie love". Everyone knows "hippie love" is another word for "be drugged up all day every day". To truly improve society requires people who are real and present. Anyone on any type of drugs...psychedelics, dishonesty, extremists (e.g. extreme sports), power (control), manipulation, deceitful, etc., etc....are not and cannot be real and present.

I hope in a sea of close to 8 billion people, I hope I can find just 100, but I would be happy with 10..hell..I would make do with just 1 or 2.
2 people found this helpful
Shawn WrightReviewed in the United States on October 5, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Melancholy, Horrific, and Real.
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I am not often overwhelmed with the desire to write a review for anything--be it movie, TV show, book, or even a nice sweater. But this film genuinely touched me and I felt the need to express something about it.

I am a horror fan. I love a good cheesy horror movie or slasher film. Most of the films that I watch regularly are of the "you don't necessarily have to pay attention because there is no real plot to speak of" variety.

I was sent a short clip of this film and, after watching that, proceeded with curiosity toward watching it in its entirety. I was upset. I was moved to tears. I was shocked. And I was captivated.

This is a very well-written and well-acted movie that shows the darker side of the life of teachers, students, and public schools in general. None of the thing that are shown are beyond the realm of reality. These things really happen. These people really feel this way. And it isn't always pretty or fun to watch.

This is one of those movies that--while I'm grateful that I saw it--I am equally grateful that I will never see it again. Watch it once, recommend it to someone, and then forget it exists.
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