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Art School Confidential (2006)


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 134
Fresh: 48
Rotten: 86

Critics Consensus: Art School's misanthropy is too sour, its targets too flat and cliched, and Clowes and Zwigoff stumble when trying to build a story around the premise.

Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 17
Rotten: 22

Critics Consensus: Art School's misanthropy is too sour, its targets too flat and cliched, and Clowes and Zwigoff stumble when trying to build a story around the premise.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 44,378



Movie Info

"Art School Confidential" follows Jerome, an art student who dreams of becoming the greatest artist in the world. Arriving as a freshman at a prestigious East Coast art school, filled with every artsy "type" there is, Jerome quickly discovers his affected style and arrogance won't get him very far. When he sees that a clueless jock is attracting the glory rightfully due him, he hatches an all-or-nothing plan to hit it big in the art world and win the heart of the most beautiful girl in the … More

R (for language including sexual references, nudity and a scene of violence)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Daniel Clowes
In Theaters:
Oct 10, 2006
Box Office:
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Art School Confidential

All Critics (134) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (86) | DVD (12)

Curiously, this relentlessly cynical tone turns out sounding refreshingly original compared to the usual pieties in the genre.

Full Review… | July 12, 2006
New York Observer
Top Critic

No matter which is the real imitator, life or art, Art School Confidential does its own fine job skewering both.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The film loses its way with multiple subplots, becoming a hodgepodge that isn't particularly hard to follow, but, far worse, provides no compelling reason to bother.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A movie with the odd, tired joke about art and artists, a college romance that isn't romantic, and a plot twist that doesn't twist at all.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Zwigoff's angry exposé of this intense, tiny subculture isn't fair to anyone in the art world, but if you can stomach the overstatement, it's often scathingly funny. And it's sometimes scathingly smart.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

What keeps the film from being altogether snide and smug are the well-intentioned performances.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Cynical and raunchy comedy for adults only.

Full Review… | December 18, 2010
Common Sense Media

It's a shame that the film's main impetus turns out to be focused on such a pedestrian and predictable plot.

Full Review… | July 16, 2010

Messy, squalidly funny

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

Director Terry Zwigoff presents a scathing satire of art school student existence but derails the movie, about a talented young artist (well-played by Max Minghella), with an artificial sub-plot about a campus serial killer.

Full Review… | April 19, 2009

Unfortunately, the tender observations Zwigoff and Clowes specialize in are largely missing from Art School Confidential, which spends its energy on the zany people who'd usually pepper the edges of their films.

Full Review… | June 8, 2008
Paste Magazine

A stilted satire of teenage passion and apathy, sex and death and concerned with aping style that it never bothers to consider its characters as people.

Full Review… | February 1, 2008

It's too crass to be a plausible satire, and not funny enough to be a dumb comedy.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Eye for Film

It's the work of two misanthropes in an even worse mood than usual.

Full Review… | July 23, 2007

Simultaneously champions creative desire while calling out the artistic realm's share of pretentious blowhards.

Full Review… | July 3, 2007
Projection Booth

An ingenious satire of the pretentious mindset of the elitist art world from the perspective of a rapidly-disillusioned kid who had no idea what he was getting into.

Full Review… | May 20, 2007

Making fun of art students is like shooting Darwin fish in a barrel.

Full Review… | March 24, 2007

Suffers from snail-like pacing, an underwhelming central character and the "shooting fish in a barrel" syndrome: The film's targets are all too obvious.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

Maybe this material isn't entirely fresh, but Zwigoff delivers it with the snap of a quick punch to the face -- which is, in fact, the first image in the film, and a model for innumerable excellent sight gags to follow.

Full Review… | November 11, 2006
The Nation

...generally comes off as nothing less than a substantial disappointment.

Full Review… | October 13, 2006
Reel Film Reviews

The few characters we might have cared for become increasingly shallow, and it all lapses into clichés about the relationship between art and infamy, between personal integrity and selling your soul, and so on.

Full Review… | September 1, 2006
Christianity Today

The true merit of the movie is the momentary pleasures of the dialogue and the performances, but the story itself leaves you wanting. So, is it art? Looks like it.

Full Review… | June 16, 2006

Has the makings of a mediocre, after-school sitcom

Full Review… | June 9, 2006
Movie Habit

Art School Confidential s'avère une autre belle réussite pour les deux artistes [Zwigoff et Clowes] qui, espérons-le, collaboreront à nouveau dans un avenir rapproché.

Full Review… | June 5, 2006

This smarty-pants campus yarn is on fire with satire.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Austin Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Art School Confidential

Man, I wanted to like this skewering of the exploiters who claim to teach art, but the filmmakers didn't trust their own instincts enough, their own vision ... and so added some lame-o bit about a murderer on campus to "liven things up". Too bad. Nonetheless, their are some good performances, particularly Jim Broadbent as the undiscovered artist gestating in murky void, and Sophia Myles as "the muse" (what else?).

Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

Art School Confidential is a film that is universally panned by many, and appreciated by a small number. The ones who think it's highly aggravating are usually let down by the fact that this was the second collaboration between Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes, who first made the film Ghost World based off Clowes' graphic novel of the same name. Ghost World was disturbing, dark, funny, and full of realism. Art School is much more of a strange commentary on the pretension of art school students. I did like the paradox of what good art is, compared to the fact that good artists are the ones people pay to see. It was a good, insightful look into the politics of the art world, and the tension of the art student, who's only survival is fame, and fame at any cost. I was personally very disappointed at the brand of humor and the lack of follow through on character development. Yes, there are eccentricities, and kookiness to spare, but it is at the expense of the plot and the chemistry between the leads that we must suffer the general annoyances of our main character. I didn't especially hate the main character as many other viewers have in the past, because he's not meant to be personable or empathetic as our protagonist. His fate at the end of the movie is completely believable, even if understandable early in the film. The film has the humor, sexual tension, and lacking characters of the regular slew of indie comedies that sit in the comedy category of the Netflix Instant. There isn't anything new to take away from it, except perhaps a better understanding and appreciation for art and artists, and maybe it will warm your heart to know that this is a love story of sorts. Well, really it's more about obsession and women who would rather be immortalized in paint rather than be a great artist's muse or great love. It's an overly ambitious yet lacking film, and I found it entertaining if not oddly put together.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

Cast: Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, Matt Keeslar, John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Anjelica Huston, Joel David Moore, Scoot McNairy, Ethan Suplee, Nick Swardson, Adam Scott, Jack Ong, Jeremy Guskin, Monika Ramnath, Isaac Laskin

Director: Terry Zwigoff

Summary: When his pure genius goes ignored and a brainless jock tempts his dream girl (Sophia Myles), ambitious art school student Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) sets in motion a brazen plan to become an art world hero and win his beloved's heart. John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Matt Keeslar, Anjelica Huston and Ethan Suplee co-star in Terry Zwigoff's dark comedy about an overachiever who goes to extremes to get the girl.

My Thoughts: "I saw the trailer and was fooled into thinking this was going to be a quirky film with dark humor. Unfortunately all the humor is shown in the trailer and still there isn't nearly enough. I soon became bored with the film and I thought the main character Jerome was annoying and not likable. I love John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, and I also enjoy Jim Broadbent, but their parts are small and not used nearly enough. The big twist is seen a mile ahead and the ending is how you expect it to end. Definitely something I wouldn't watch again."


Super Reviewer

An art student pursues a beautiful woman while a killer stalks the student body.
I liked the film's almost oppressively cynical air. Multiple characters remark how the human species should be wiped off the planet, and the art teachers/successful artists pillory the art establishment at will. At the center of the film is an exploration of what art is or should do, and the filmmakers seem to suggest that all answers are wrong.
Also, Sophia Myles is astoundingly beautiful. Her performance is uneven, occasionally the girl next door and occasionally the damaged cynic, but she exudes sexuality effortlessly, and it's easy to understand Jerome's obsession with her.
However, the film is uneven. There is a plot twist that makes little sense, and Jerome's emotional state goes through unexplained peaks and valleys.
Overall, there are flaws in the storytelling, but the film's dark heart is in a unique place, which ultimately makes it worth the time.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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