The Trotsky

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79%

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Total Count: 14

71%

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User Ratings: 1,957
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Movie Info

An unusually intense teenager gets the idea that his name defines his destiny in this offbeat comedy. Leon Bronstein (Jay Baruchel) is a young man who has made the discovery that his birth name is the same as that of Leon Trotsky, the celebrated Russian revolutionary and socialist theorist. This coincidence leads Leon to believe that he is the reincarnation of Trotsky and it is his destiny to follow his path as closely as possible -- which is a bit difficult when you have rich parents and attend an upscale private school in Montreal. Leon's father (Saul Rubinek) gives his son a part-time job in one of his clothing factories, and within a day Leon is leading his fellow workers in a sit-down strike. Father isn't amused and punishes Leon by making him attend public school, but there the world-be revolutionary finds new ways to battle fascism -- which in this case is represented by Principal Berkhoff (Colm Feore) and Mrs. Davis (Domini Blythe), a teacher eager to give her students detention. Leon's pursuit of social justice causes him to fall in with Frank (Michael Murphy), a burned-out activist-turned-college professor, but Leon also finds himself infatuated with Frank's current girlfriend -- who, like Trotsky's great love, is named Alexandra (Emily Hampshire) and is nine years older than he. Directed by Jacob Tierney, The Trotsky was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for The Trotsky

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (3)

  • Fitfully charming and sitcom cute.

    May 14, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Tierny's script is smart and funny although some of the jokes are likely over the heads of a teen audience, who may not be up on their Russian revolutionary lore.

    May 13, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Runs 20 minutes too long and several rungs above the head of its target audience.

    May 7, 2010 | Rating: 2/5
  • Certainly the film is cute in places, but the larger ideas that little Leon is messing about with are never any more than cardboard cutouts, a child's approximation of political thinking.

    Aug 22, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Baruchal gives a charming performance, full of intellectual wit and good-natured charisma, but also take-charge sex appeal, albeit of the nerd variety.

    Jul 12, 2012 | Rating: 72/100 | Full Review…
  • Handful of gags fall flat and those who can only handle low doses of Barchuel may grow tired of his shtick, but it's a curiously enjoyable experience and educational, too.

    Aug 13, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Trotsky

  • May 13, 2012
    First things first while Jay Baruchel looks younger than he really is (probably by about 7 years) I think he still looks too old to play a high school student. This is a guy who looked about 11 years old when he was really 19 when he played a COLLEGE STUDENT on Undeclared (an underrated show that Fox, unsurprisingly, canceled after a season) was on the air. So it's odd seeing him in this role and looking just completely out of place because he looked so much older than everyone else. He does a good job, don't get me wrong...he's great at what he does. And this movie is really quite charming and clever for a high school film. It has a good idea about what school does to its students, which is largely believable considering a lot of my experiences in high school are pretty similar in the sense of it, largely, beating the life out of you to the point where no one really cares due to apathy (and boredom). The more unbelievable thing, however, is the fact that our voices were never really going to be listened to BECAUSE we were high school students, and that, in a way, is really unfair. Of course, I'm as prone as the next guy to point out idiocy in teenagers today, but people should still fight for what they believe in (or unfairness) they find in their lives. That's definitely a good message. Anyway the movie is really smartly written, probably too smart for the demographic it wanted. I can see a lot of the jokes just going over some of the younger viewers. There's some moments really early in the film that Leon comes across as unlikable because he does come from a very privileged family and the way he acted definitely made him come across as spoiled. Thankfully, the character grew on me to where I found him a very likable guy. The rest of the cast is great really. The movie also runs a tad bit long, but not to where it really hurts the movie either way. Anyway this is a really entertaining high school comedy. Not perfect, but really good nonetheless.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 25, 2012
    The Trotsky is a charming but flawed teen comedy set in Montreal, about a wanna be radical without a cause, Leon Bronstein (Jay Barchel), who tries to start a pointless Communist revolution in his high school. Leon believes he is the reincarnation of his namesake, Leon Trotsky, and that his life will parallel his famous namesake. It gets by on the charisma of its excellent cast. I know the humour of the film is supposed to draw attention to the fact that he's rebelling against very little except post modernist youth apathy but that is not an inherently dramatic concept. The film also relies on references to Marxism and Bolshevist history that will be completely lost on the teen comedy Apatow audience that talented writer director Jacob Tierney is going for. The Trotsky is amusing and charming but rarely funny. A smilar film, Rushmore gets more laughs and is much less predictable. When the crazy Leon finally gets arrested and gets his fellow students to join his revolution, it happens for no reason at all. However, almost everyone shines, from the students to the adult antogonists. Barchel is a terrific, likeable and sincere lead and carries the film. Saul Rubinek plays Leon's disgruntled Jewish businessman Dad, Colm Feore is the slightly hard ass school principal, Michael Murphy is a Vietnam draft dodger radical who regains his ideals as Leon's attorney, and Genevieve Bujold makes a lovely return to film as the dictatorial school board chairwoman. And though their romance is not believable, the lovely Emily Hampshire plays Leon's older girlfriend who has the same name and age difference as Trotsky's wife. Thought set in my native Montreal, the film is shot on generic sets which do not capture the atmosphere of the city as well as recent films like Barney's Version or Monsieur Lazhar. However, I loved the very fresh rock soundtrack by Quebecois band Maljube and the title sequences which are hip versions of communist poster art of the Bolshevik period. Definely a charming time waster and worth a rental. But for all you ex-radical parents, it will not turn your kids into more socially engaged socialists, so don't get your hopes up.
    Josh M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2011
    Kinda clever and funny.
    Hugo S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2011
    Even with his sister Sarah's(Tommie-Amber Pirie) support, Leon's(Jay Baruchel) hunger strike at their father's(Saul Rubinek) factory goes badly awry with Leon getting arrested. So much so, that he disowns his own son but his stepmother(Anne-Marie Cadieux) is more forgiving and invites him back for sabbath where he is told that he will now be attending public school from now on. In response, Leon goes to enlist legal aid from Frank McGovern(Michael Murphy) who does agree that he needs professional help, just not of the legal kind since Leon thinks he is the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky. Just for the record, Alexandra(Emily Hampshire) also thinks he is nuts. At least, he makes some friends at his new school... As it gets better as it goes along with a slightly weak ending, "The Trotsky" is a very funny, inspiring, intelligent and political romp with some great touches(Any movie that name checks Ken Loach is okay with me) that strangely enough has some faint echoes of "The Boys from Brazil." Wait, think about it for a second. And even if it is an exaggeration, it would still explain a few things. While Trotsky was not as bad as Stalin, he was not writing about peace, love and understanding but revolution.(Even though I'm an anarchist, I'm not here to relive any century old feuds unless somebody has a lot of water balloons lying around.) Canada might be a strange place to foment a revolution since it already has socialized health care, gay marriage, a Tim Horton's on every corner and, most importantly, nationalized televised hockey every night. But you have to start somewhere. And is there anything more fascist than school uniforms? Just don't forget the cheerleaders.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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