Rushmore is the sophomore film from our Director of the Month for May 2011, Wes Anderson, and it is quite simply a joy to watch.
Director: Wes Anderson. Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Producers: Barry Mendel and Paul Schiff. Executive Producers: Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson. Editor: David Moritz. Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman. Score: Mark Mothersbaugh. Distributor: Touchstone Pictures. Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Olivia Williams and Bill Murray. Age Restriction: 13L. Running Time: 93 Minutes.
The story revolves around Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) a 15 year old scholarship student at the prestigious Rushmore Academy private school who is on the verge of being kicked out because he participates in far too many extra-mural activities and his schoolwork is suffering as a result. While trying to figure a way around this predicament he falls in love with Ms. Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a widowed first grade teacher at the school. In the meantime Max befriends Herman Blume (Bill Murray) a disillusioned multi millionaire who while trying to convince Max to let go of Rosemary ends up falling for instead and then goes to great lengths to try and hide it.
Max's infatuation with Rosemary Cross will feel familiar to most males who I'm sure at some point or another in their lives have fallen head over heels in love with an older woman. Usually that older woman is in a position of power over the said young man and possess character traits like intelligence and a level of maturity that they cannot find in women of the same age. Rosemary perfectly embodies those characteristics in an attractive yet non-sexualised manner that is the exact antithesis of what the modern idea of a cougar would lead you to believe. The rapport between her and Max is filled with visible tension from the get-go but while Max, with the kind of swagger you'd expect from a Hollywood playboy, is very upfront about his feelings for her, she uses her adult sensibilities to deflect his numerous advances. However, as is the case with all relationships, sexual or otherwise, there is more to their 'friendship' than meets the eye. During the course of the film her feelings for him range from intrigue to sympathy to downright annoyance with his exceedingly elaborate romantic gestures. There's even a moment, a fleeting one at that, where she seems to have finally fallen for him but you have to judge for yourself whether she is being deceptive or not.
Wes Anderson does a brilliant job with his unique, visual storytelling style and delivers a wonderful film that is definitely one of his best works so far.
Verdict: For a film that is barely 90 minutes long there is so much happening in it that it feels much longer yet it never drags and there is most certainly never a dull moment.
Rushmore is available now on DVD.