General ramblings

Movie: Bad Education

I think Gael Garcia’s performance in this movie (Spanish Trailer from Youtube) has sealed the fact that I’m a big fan of his. Who else can flawlessly walk like a woman, in 6 inches heels and carry a pair of fake breasts naturally? He even looks like a woman when he portrays the character of Zahara. Bad Education is the story of two lovers and friends, Ignacio and Enrique and their growing up years in the ’60s, in a rigid Christian School and how their life changes because of their principal, Father Manolo and his child abusing activities. Father Manolo develops a strong liking for the ten year old boy Ignacio, who in turn, falls in love with his classmate, Enrique. Both the boys are separated after they’re caught in the restroom in the middle of the night by Father Manolo. Years later, after Enrique has established a name for himself as a famous director, he happens to meet Ignacio again. Or so he thinks. The movie takes lots of unexpected turns and an enjoyable ride it is.

Gael Garcia Bernal plays the character of Angel/Juan/Zahara and Fele Martinez stars as Enrique. I haven’t seen any other movie directed by Pedro Almodovar; so I really can’t comment on his direction style, but I’ve read lots of review where people are of the opinion that most of his movies have a very strong homosexual element. I love the way he handled such a delicate subject- homosexuality and child abuse- so well. Most of the scenes have been shot very tastefully and the skin show has been kept to a minimum.

Gael Garcia seamlessly shifts between the characters of Angel and Zahara. While watching the movie, there was a point when I couldn’t understand who he is! That is how confusing it gets. Is Ignacio alive? If he is, why is he behaving differently? Why does he insist on calling himself Angel? There are subtle hints throughout the movie and if you probe deeper, you’ll know the truth. For example- There is this pool scene where Enrique tries to show his affection towards Angel, but the latter shrugs him off.

There are so many other scenes that I could talk about, but I’ll have to give away the plot then, which I don’t want to do. I was mesmerized by the mask-like heads in the last scene of the movie, when Angel and Father Manolo are talking to each other. The atmosphere was literally brimming with energy.

This might very well be Gael Garcia’s best performance to date, because of the sheer range of characters that he portrays.

Rating: 9.5/10



35 thoughts on “Movie: Bad Education

  1. @ Amit:

    Oh you should 🙂 It’s an awesome movie. You can also watch other movies of Bernal- Amores Perros, The Motorcycle Diaries, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Babel. He’s a wonderful actor.


    I love that song “The Moon River”– so beautiful. 🙂 And yes, the movie’s awesome.

  2. Nice review.. but I think you were torn apart between trying to explain the plot of the movie and not revealing any of suspence moments of the movie! (Thats close to impossible due to the up-down-left-right flow of the story)

    The best thing I liked about the movie is the unpredictability.. till the final narration from you-know-how everyone spins their own version of the story in their mid only to shoot it down in the end!

  3. @Balu

    It was difficult writing this review, considering the complicated story line! 🙂 I tried my best not to give out any details though. The comments section is another case, where spoilers are allowed!

    Frankly speaking, all the time, I did question myself that why exactly is Ignacio going on asking Enrique to call him Angel! Plus, he was not showing any affection towards Enrique either, esp. after you consider the fact that both of them were really close to each other as kids. So I did feel that something is definitely wrong. But I wasn’t really ready for what the director really showed us later. 😀 But I really enjoyed the ride…even though it was a little creepy sometimes.

    And won’t you agree with me that Gael was brilliant as Zahara? At least from behind, nobody can say that Zahara is a guy! Even from the front…such flawless impersonation. He must have done a lot of research for this role.

  4. Gonna be difficult to find this one as a DVD but I’m sure it’ll be there in some corner of the internet and I’ll find it since you’ve recommended it big time.

    I haven’t yet seen a movie on homosexuality but I had once seen a documentary on child abuse. It had been banned from being released because apparently it had opened a good number of secrets about the government of a particular country. I don’t remember which country. In that, they had shown three cases where the mothers had accused the fathers of abusing their children so that the mothers could get complete custody of the child and the movie people somehow recorded the supervised meetings which the govt. set up between the fathers and the kids to check their behavior. Later, they showed how blatantly the supervisors had lied and tried to make the fathers sound like confused and unstable abusers when it was nothing like that. Pretty interesting documentary it was, and pretty touching too. The emotions of the father’s were worth seeing..cause well..they weren’t acting. It was real.

  5. @Ish

    Balu might help you here. He saw this movie and he’s in India. I don’t think you’ll be able to get the DVD though. I ordered it on Netflix myself.

    I did see Brokeback Mountain, but didn’t really like it that much, even though it was critically acclaimed. Probably I need to re-watch it. Which documentary are you talking about? Is there any way you can get the name? It sounds really interesting and I would love to watch it.

  6. @Ish

    Balu might help you here. He saw this movie and he’s in India. I don’t think you’ll be able to get the DVD though. I ordered it on Netflix myself.

    I did see Brokeback Mountain, but didn’t really like it that much, even though it was critically acclaimed. Probably I need to re-watch it. Which documentary are you talking about? Is there any way you can get the name? It sounds really interesting and I would love to watch it.

  7. lallopallo says:

    ..Btw, I became member of Netflix..I think it’s a cool way to order libraries around my area do not have many good titles I wanna watch..
    Netflix’s collection seems quite decent..


    ^^ There you go. It’s called Goodbye Daddy. It’s not very well shot or anything so don’t tell me that afterwards. And when it’s downloading, make sure you preview it once so that you can be sure that you are downloading the correct thing. It can very well turn out to be some pr0n between father and daughter. You never know with the torrent uploaders. So don’t blame me for that either. 😛

  9. Okkkk…so many movies to watch and such a small life. 😦
    I have seen Babel. I was so damn disappointed when it didn’t win the Oscar. 😦
    And yes, I will definitely watch all the others. 🙂

  10. @Ish

    Thanks a lot 🙂 Will download it ASAP. And no, I won’t blame you if it turns out to be something else.


    Yes, Babel was a good movie! I watch so many movies, but the list keeps getting longer 😦

  11. You’re welcome. It doesn’t have many seeds though, so I dunno how long it’ll take to download. It downloaded for me so I’m thinking it’ll be easier for you since you’ll be having a connection way faster than 128k.

    Shit. Shit. Shit. Boards. Shit.

  12. I agree abt the research.. thats wat I meant when I said, “you get to see gabriel the actor here”. Remember the scene where we visits eunuchs just to see how they behave and how he looses weight as the movie progresses… simple brilliant… And yes he looked very convincing in his female attire..
    The first scene in which he appears as a woman, I did not realise (recognise) that it was Gabriel.. took me a moment and then I was like Oh My God.. is that him?

  13. Hey Ish, rush to the nearby street dealer.. I got it from them (my friend bought from such a person).. if not for those chaps who sell fake DVD some good movies never reach India!

    It might take ages through torrent.. neways do what you find more convenient!

  14. @Balu: Thanks for the torrent link. It is downloading at about 1Kb/s. But that’s fine because it has one month to download. I’m not gonna see it before the exams end anyway. That’s why I just put BitComet on these days and let it keep downloading movies so I can have like 5 or 6 of them to watch when I’m done with the exams.

  15. @Ish

    No problem. It shouldn’t take me very long. I have a 54 MBPS connection 😉 You must be getting ready for your fist paper now. All the best!


    Exactly! The way he was swinging his hips..he even gave me a complex 😐 I’ve ordered another movie The Crime of Padre Amaro. 🙂 Have you seen it? Supposed to be one hell of a movie.

  16. @Lallo

    Don’t know how I missed your comment. Yes, Netflix is awesome. They have the biggest collection, I think. I’ve found 99% of the movies that I’ve wanted to watch. You won’t get a better collection anywhere else.

  17. Balu- Great 🙂 I’m going to probably watch it next week.

    Ish- I’m sure you do. Heh. That’s the precise reason I told you. 😛

  18. @Ish : Why don’t you cry and scream and ask your parents to upgrade the internet. I got my computer this way. It works. 🙂 I am also regularly downloading movies and its great when the speed is good.
    @Ruhi : From where in the name of God do you come to know of movies like – “The Crime of Padre Amaro”. 😐

  19. @ johnhendel:

    You must 🙂 I loved this movie. In fact, I think I’m in love with Gael Garcia Bernal. I’ve liked each and every movie that he’s starred in.


    🙂 take a look at Gael’s profile on IMDB.

  20. @Ruhi: Aiight, I’m envying you then. I wish we could steal internet like those migrants steal electricity in India. The kundi system as it is called in Punjab. I don’t know what it is called elsewhere.

    @Amit: With the kind of marks that I get, I consider myself lucky that I’m having a computer and a broadband internet connection. And they’re really expensive as well. It costs me 800 bucks/month for a 128 KBps connection in here. And out of that, I pay 400 bucks from whatever money I get through the month. I don’t think my parents would fancy spending more than that on something that according to them has ruined my last 2 years. I hope you get the situation.

  21. It’s okay, it’s reasonable enough I guess. My only grudge is that I can’t see YouTube videos at one go. You’ve got to wait for them to buffer and that’s annoying. The maximum download speed manages to reach around 20KBps and to you it might sound ridiculous but it’s okay enough for the kind of downloading I do. If it were more, I would have crashed my hard-drive by now lol. It’s just 40Gigs.

  22. @ ish:

    Yeah…20kbps is a little less. At least you can buffer and watch the Youtube videos because you have unlimited internet. These days, I’ve heard that in India, people are charged for per mb of data they download? Quite funny…I wonder what my bill will be like then. LOL.

    Btw, the primary laptop that I use also has only 40 GB. But I keep formatting it. So that cleans up the disk space. This laptop has become quite slow 😦 I’m thinking of buying some addl. RAM. I really need it. This laptop has only 512 MB RAM.

  23. Yeah, that’s what I do. I let the Youtube videos buffer and go away. When I come back, I watch them. But the thing is that when you are buffering too many videos at a time, either Youtube disconnects you or your internet connection refuses to work.

    Yeah, most people in India have limited download plans. They have speeds like 256 KBps. I decided that it’s better to have a connection which is a little slower but is unlimited. Hence I went for 128KBps. And people aren’t charged for every MB they download. They have a monthly in something like 2 Gigs and when you overshoot that, you are charged for every MB. And it sucks because they even count website visiting in those MB’s. For example, you open a blog which has a lot of photos and that opening of photos is also considered downloading. Then they get viruses which cripple the computers and download useless stuff so they end up paying for stuff they didn’t even download. 54MBps connections are still a long way away. But at least most people have moved from the 56k dial-up connections.

    512MB RAM sounds like heaven to me. If you hear my configuration, you’ll probably faint. It’s a Toshiba Satellite, which I guess was made around 8 or 9 years ago. The processor is an 847 Mhz Pentium III with 256 MB RAM and a genuinely fake Windows XP 2002 SP 2. 40GB Hard drive, a broken DVD-ROM. 2 functional USB 1.0 ports. Not even a touchpad mouse. It doesn’t get much worse than that, trust me. And it’s also second hand. My parents got really lucky that my maasi mentioned that she was gonna donate this laptop to some charitable institute. My parents told her to give it to me for free instead. After all, charity begins at home. 😐

    I wonder when I’ll own a computer with a decent configuration. 😦

  24. ruhi
    pedro is a good director very famous in spain and if im not mistaken is one of the people who promoted penelope cruz, he is compared with other directors like Bertolucci who made dreamers
    his movies are very interesting and he deals a lot with sexuality not just homosexuality – ive seen his movie Matador

    a very interesting movie (not his)is xxy do chk it out

    will see this one if i find it at the p*bay
    in India going to the bay is a way of getting original stuff
    else govt will censor his material like most other for sure

    ish why dont u find urself some second hand 512 lappy ram
    it wont be that expensive and i think there should be some supply
    god bless mtnl at least i have a 2 gb line (running nywhere between 256 and 2gb)- nite unlimited – thats when my dloads happen

  25. @ Prax:

    Thanks for the link. I’m very picky when it comes to movies though 🙂 I mostly rely on Netflix user reviews before watching anything at all. I do want to see more of Pedro’s works. I loved the way he directed Bad Education.

  26. phew: saw the movie it isn’t that great but certainly better than matador – the acting s good but the story is ok
    xxy is way way better
    i had to search a lot to get the link as it is a rare movie
    i think it got a palm d’or

  27. i loved the presentation and the acting in xxy, and the story always retained my attention i cant say that about ME.
    I just browsed through El orfanato The orphanage- it is a great movie suspense horror, will see it properly later

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