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Bad Education (La Mala educación) (2004)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 137
Fresh: 121 | Rotten: 16

A layered, wonderfully-acted, and passionate drama.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 39
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 5

A layered, wonderfully-acted, and passionate drama.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 45,588

My Rating

Movie Info

Filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar takes a look at his own adolescence as well as confronting the issue of sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church in this stylish drama, which was chosen to open the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez) is a Spanish filmmaker who is having trouble settling on a new project when he's approached by Ignacio Rodriguez (Gael García Bernal), who was his close friend when they were schoolboys. Goded, who fell in love for the first time with Rodriguez, barely

Apr 12, 2005


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All Critics (147) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (121) | Rotten (16) | DVD (16)

It still exerts an uncanny power: Like the best of Almodóvar's work, it throws you a first-love sucker punch that will stagger your heart, mind, and soul.

February 27, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Simple melodrama, a not-that-puzzling puzzle of a film noir.

February 11, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
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Taken at face value, Bad Education is about molestation, but from a wider perspective, it's about love, loss of innocence and the desperate quest for redemption.

February 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even though Bad Education ultimately seems to escape the director's control, there is no small amount of enjoyment in getting lost in its sexual-philosophical house of mirrors.

February 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
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Reality, fantasy and cinema interweave with such grace and power that it's often difficult to separate one from the other, which is, of course, the point.

February 4, 2005
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a disturbing film that challenges the viewer's comfort. It also challenges you to keep up as it jumps stylistically from comedy to romance to drama to a film noir thriller.

January 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tragic story of church's betrayal; adults only.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A dazzling autobiographical blend of Almodovar's career, childhood, and adoration & admiration for the cinema.

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

In accounting for Almodóvar's identity as an artist and a man, Bad Education comes together like a bold and far-reaching summation of his career to date.

September 26, 2005 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

...Almodovar's meta-movie teases us with Big Ideas about those of us who love our fantasies so much that we turn them into our realities.

April 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Weekly Planet (Tampa, FL)

An original story told by one of the best contemporary filmmakers, Bad Education is a mesmerizing movie experience.

April 8, 2005 Full Review Source:

Almodovar's transitions in tone and mood are so slyly executed it's only afterward that the viewer realizes how much ground this ambitious, brain-teasing movie has covered.

March 24, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Almodovar is that rarest of filmmakers -- one whose work becomes more daring with each film.

March 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It's really a greatest hits compilation of Almodovar's own work - all the standout tracks are here, but with none of the context and soul afforded by those connective numbers.

March 8, 2005 Full Review

It's a fascinating film that goes off in so many directions that the viewer may have a hard time getting a handle on it.

March 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette

It's stylish, campy, gay, and signature Almodóvar.

February 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

When the most noble character in the movie is a pedophiliac priest, you know you are in trouble.

February 26, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

...Almodovar manages to stuff his frame with themes familiar and unexpected.

February 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Too delighted with its own cleverness.

February 24, 2005 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Paints vivid noir suspense with extremely broad brushstrokes, often pushing style to the forefront at the expense of story

February 21, 2005

As complex a thriller as one will experience.

February 18, 2005

[Garcia Bernal] burns through Bad Education like a meteor, lighting up Almod var's cherry-red visions of movie passion and real-life pain.

February 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

The most brazenly, deliciously gay film Almodovar has ever made.

February 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

It's an irresistible enigma of a film

February 16, 2005 Full Review Source: Zertinet Movies
Zertinet Movies

Not as much a film of social protest as a sexually fluid update of a classic Hollywood mystery-melodrama...

February 14, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for Bad Education (La Mala educación)

For me, Bad Education represents the shift in style for Almodovar from camp comedy to edgy, often disturbing thriller. There is still plenty of the Almodovar you'd expect but there is something sinister and captivating that hasn't always been present in his previous films. It's certainly been visible since in Volver, Broken Embraces and the disturbing but brilliant The Skin I live In.
August 1, 2012

Super Reviewer

A drag queen convinces a film director to shoot a film about his childhood molestation by a priest.
As I'm exploring Almodovar's oeuvre, I'm seeing similar subjects. There is almost always an element of abnormal sexuality, and the several scenes of homosexual sex check that box. Drag queens? Also check. But these are surface elements. The reason I think I'm not diving into Almodovar is that many of his films try to do so much at once. Bad Education is a love story, a noir, a political statement against the clergy's sexual misconduct, and a melodrama, and I think all the "styles" and subject matters collide. What results is such a hodgepodge that I think people are able to attach themselves to elements of the film while ignoring the whole.
Overall, Bad Education is for Almodovar fans, and that's about it.
September 17, 2011
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

An amazing mystery/revenge story. I was totally blown away with the complex nature of the film. Almodovar's style really shines in this, due to the fact that he strayed from his usual upbeat tone and really went with something dark. Gael Garcia Bernal was great and made the movie all the more enjoyable, convincing me that his character was much less horrible than he should've been. I really appreciate the bold choices used, if only more filmmakers were this brave. The director's cut is definitely a step up in terms of what shocking content was meant to be seen, it made me fall in love with it even more.
April 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

Murder, mayhem, transvestites and child molesting priests.

I wonder where Pedro Almodóvar gets such wild ideas for his stories? Are they autobiographical? Are they plucked from Spanish tabloids? They seem to be coherent presentations of utter chaos. The man is twisted (but brilliant!).
March 7, 2010
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

    1. Ignacio Rodriguez: I think I've just lost my faith at this moment, so I no longer believe in God or hell. As I don't believe in hell I'm not afraid, and without fear I'm capable of anything.
    – Submitted by Anna C (9 months ago)
    1. Enrique Serrano: There's nothing less erotic than an actor looking for work.
    – Submitted by Laura M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Latest News on Bad Education (La Mala educación)

May 20, 2009:
Cannes 2009: The Tomato Report ? Almodovar's Broken Embraces a Comfortable Favourite
Pedro Almodovar is a firm favourite in Cannes, so it's no surprise to see his new film Broken...
November 24, 2004:
Bad Education Still NC-17

Foreign Titles

  • La mala educación - Schlechte Erziehung (DE)
  • Bad Education (UK)
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