Directed by: Terry Zwigoff
Written by: Daniel Clowes
Running time: 98 min
"Art School Confidential" follows talented young artist Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) as he escapes from high school to a tiny East Coast art school. Here the boyish freshman’s ambition is to become the world’s greatest artist, like his hero Picasso. Unfortunately, the beauty and craft of Jerome’s portraiture are not appreciated in an anything-goes art class. Neither his harsh judgments of his classmates’ efforts nor his later attempts to create pseudo-art of his own win him any admirers. But Jerome does attract the attentions of his dream girl, the stunning and sophisticated Audrey (Sophia Myles), an artist’s model and daughter of a celebrated artist. Rejecting the affectations of the local art scene, Audrey is drawn to Jerome’s sincerity. When Audrey shifts her attention to Jonah (Matt Keeslar), a hunky painter who becomes the school’s latest art star, Jerome is heartbroken. Desperate, he concocts a risky plan to make a name for himself and win her back.
Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, young Jerome pursues his true obsession to art school. Jerome enrolls in Strathmore, an urban college. His roommates include aspiring film maker, Vince, and closeted-gay fashion major Matthew. Jerome looks for love amongst the coeds, but is turned off by them all, before falling in love with the art model, Audrey. In his art classes, he forms a friendship with perennial loser, Bardo, who guides him through the college scene and introduces him to a failed artist, Jimmy, a belligerent drunk.
As Jerome learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him. The community has been wracked by a serial killer, the Strathmore Strangler, who has confounded the police. As Jerome slowly loses his idealism at art school, he finds himself In competition with a strange newcomer, Jonah (an undercover detective), both for Audrey’s affection and for artistic recognition.
In a wild attempt to win a prestigious art competition, Jerome asks for, and gets, Jimmy’s paintings, all of which are of the Strangler’s victims. Jerome leaves a lit cigarette in Jimmy’s apartment by accident, setting a fire and burning up the apartment and Jimmy. The police arrest Jerome as the Strangler (who in fact was Jimmy); Audrey realizes that her true love is Jerome and that she was stupid to be in love with Jonah (who is actually married); and Jerome is sent to prison. Jerome’s paintings, especially one of Audrey, become prized by collectors; Vince scores a huge hit with his documentary of the Strangler called My Roommate: The Murderer. In prison, Jerome continues to paint and sells his works at high prices, not caring that people think he is the killer, while all the while Audrey is still in love with him. At the end, Audrey and Jerome share a kiss through the protective glass.
Sophia plays Audrey, the daughter of a semi-famous artist who poses nude for a school art class but has a skeptical view of the pretentious art scene. She takes a liking to Jerome, but is then drawn to Jonah. She smokes, drinks some, and seems to have had a lesbian lover in the past.
Premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival
During the Halloween party sequence, one of the guests is dressed just like Enid (Thora Birch) from Ghost World (2001), also directed by Terry Zwigoff.
Playing a model in line-drawing class required Sophia Myles to disrobe – for the first time in her acting career.
An extra scene featuring the actors in Vince’s film is shown after the credits.
The film contains: 49 F-words and its derivatives, 25 sexual references, 33 scatological terms, 35 anatomical terms, 11 mild obscenities, 3 derogatory terms for homosexuals, 2 derogatory terms for police officers, 2 religious profanities, 17 religious exclamations.
Quotes from Reviews
Sophia Myles, seen most recently in Tristan + Isolde, is as attractive as she is talented
Quotes from Sophia
“Art School is coming out September 30th. Terry Zwigoff is a genius. I would give my right arm to work with him again. We all had such a laugh.”