The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Reviews

  • Jul 17, 2020

    Surprisingly powerful and beautifully acted.

    Surprisingly powerful and beautifully acted.

  • Jul 20, 2019

    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.

    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.

  • Feb 02, 2019

    The best comedy movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: Jean!

    The best comedy movie ever made! With the best movie song ever sung: Jean!

  • Nov 12, 2018

    I really enjoyed watching this.

    I really enjoyed watching this.

  • Apr 22, 2018

    Sometimes this one veers into Dullsville, but when it takes off, it's explosively delicious, especially in Maggie's portrayal of its very imperfect title character.

    Sometimes this one veers into Dullsville, but when it takes off, it's explosively delicious, especially in Maggie's portrayal of its very imperfect title character.

  • Feb 05, 2018

    Maggie Smith in her Prime

    Maggie Smith in her Prime

  • Jan 01, 2016

    I found this 1969 movie rather shocking... how unexpected. Maggie Smith is just a force.

    I found this 1969 movie rather shocking... how unexpected. Maggie Smith is just a force.

  • Apr 17, 2015

    Good movie with a wonderful performance from Maggie Smith, Robert Stephens, and Pamela Franklin

    Good movie with a wonderful performance from Maggie Smith, Robert Stephens, and Pamela Franklin

  • Mar 05, 2015

    Just watched this for the first time and I don't understand why this movie was considered amazing. Maggie Smith is wonderful but she always is. I could find nothing likeable about this film. I disliked the story and the characters. Perhaps it is because I expected it to be an inspirational teacher story. On that basis alone this film is a failure. Miss Brodie isn't an inspirational teacher she is the opposite of one. This movie is just a story about backstabbing, competitive women who invest all their energy competing and trying to one up each other over men. Perhaps when it was originally released it was better but it has not held up.

    Just watched this for the first time and I don't understand why this movie was considered amazing. Maggie Smith is wonderful but she always is. I could find nothing likeable about this film. I disliked the story and the characters. Perhaps it is because I expected it to be an inspirational teacher story. On that basis alone this film is a failure. Miss Brodie isn't an inspirational teacher she is the opposite of one. This movie is just a story about backstabbing, competitive women who invest all their energy competing and trying to one up each other over men. Perhaps when it was originally released it was better but it has not held up.

  • Sep 02, 2014

    Great characters and great acting. Maggie <3

    Great characters and great acting. Maggie <3