TIFF19: Bad Education

Bad Education (2019) 1h 43min | Comedy, Drama | 8 September 2019 (Canada) Summary: The unfolding of the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in history.
Countries: USA

A Long Island school district is rocked by the largest embezzlement scandal in history in Bad Education. Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) is the superintendent of the Roslyn School District in Long Island, who along with his assistant superintendent for business, Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney) have brought unprecedented prestige to the district. When it was discovered the Pam and her family have been using taxpayer money for personal purchases, Frank and the school board, headed by President Bob Spicer (Ray Romano), force her to quietly resign. However, when student Rachel Kellog (Geraldine Viswanathan) decides to dig into the school finances for a school paper article, it is discovered that the dubious spending goes much higher.

Bad Education is the second feature film from director Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds) and recounts the 2002 scandal, where over $11 million were embezzled from the Roslyn School District, an event that was experienced first hand by screenwriter Mike Makowsky. The film stars Hugh Jackman as superintendent Frank Tassone, who has a carefully crafted public image, which begins to crumble once news of the scandal begins to break. The amazing part of this story comes from how the scandal was revealed through the determination of Rachel Kellog, who is ironically spurred on by advice given to her early on by Frank Tassone.

Bad Education

Even though Bad Education is telling the story of a nearly two-decades-old scandal, the film still feels quite timely in today’s day and age, particularly since the funding of education remains a major issue. While Bad Education isn’t as instantly memorable as Cory Finley’s debut Thoroughbreds, it still sports some very solid performances all around, with the film being a possible breakthrough for young actress Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) as very determined student Rachel Kellog. Altogether, Bad Education is a film worth checking out.

TIFF19 screenings of Bad Education

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).