The main character Henry Barthes, Adrian Brody, is a substitute teacher with a troubled past – desperate to make a change. Following his arrival at a new school, he is thrown into a life and death struggle to find beauty in a seemingly vicious and loveless world.
The film employs the use of a documentary-style aesthetic, which brings a raw and real feel to the plot and characters. Due to this technique, the characters are fleshed out in depth and the audience is able to understand their deeper thoughts and actions. The themes addressed within the film include relationships, suicide, parenting, and emotional capability, and as each topic is addressed, the characters within the film are shaped and defined.
The film did an amazing job of creating an authentic and realistic world; it didn’t try to hide the blemishes of the harsh reality in which the film took place, and it didn’t try to distract the audience with niceties. The film was raw in every form, which sometimes made it was difficult to watch, and sometimes made it uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it was incredible.