Bevy Smith's Tribeca Film Fest Diary: "I Love Slender Men With Big... Noses"

Bevy Smith
Throughout the madness that is the Tribeca Film Festival, one of our favorite gals-about-town, Bevy Smith, will be reporting from the front lines. Here's her final installment...

Between films like Waiting For Superman, Lean On Me, Freedom Writers; owning the Welcome Back Kotter box set; and being the product of a public school education, I wasn't that interested in Detachment.  I get it: good teachers are saints and the system is flawed.  However, I love slender men with big.... noses (Adrian Brody) and director Tony Kaye's American History X is a fave of mine, so I decided to see it.

The cast of Detachment features a plethora of stars in supporting/cameo roles (it was like watching an episode of Love Boat!): Lucy Liu, Marcia Gay Hayden, Blythe Danner, James Caan (a standout as the pill popping, no nonsense, tenured teacher), William Petersen and Tim Black Nelson all give great performances. But Brody was the main event.

Brody plays Henry Barthes, a substitute teacher that cares deeply and wants to connect with people -- but only to a point.  This is due in large part to his troubled childhood spent watching his mother drink nonstop and finding her after she's committed suicide.

Barthes's difficult past colors his adult life and he plays the knight in shining armor to damsels in distress, while making it clear he's not there forever -- he's a substitute.  His life is flipped like a whore's mattress when he meets three women who are looking for a more permanent solution to their problems in life.  Barthes' ladies in waiting are teen prostitute Erica (played by Sami Gayle), idealistic vixen-as-teacher, Ms. Madison who Barthes has a flirtation with (Christina Hendricks), and the chubby, morose-yet-artistically-talented student, Meredith (Betty Kaye), who has a crush on him.

Once Barthes is reluctantly pulled into their lives, he learns that if you really care you must commit, and that being a great substitute isn't half as good as the real thing.

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