First thing I would like to say about this film, is that it did not turn out at all how I predicted. I can admit I imagined it would be about another movie about a kid awakening his inner talent because of a demanding, intense and strict mentor. The story definitely played out that way at first, but what I loved about this movie, was the twist of a classic tale. I was continuously surprised by the way the movie took everything I expected to turn into something even more grand, realistic and rewarding. Even when I thought I had it all figured out, I was surprised until the very end.
The acting surpassed phenomenal standards; there’s a reason J.K. Simmons is stealing all the greatest lead male actor awards. He evoked every feeling I was supposed to experience while he was on screen, frustration, desperation, resentment, empathy, and gratification. I don’t know if I could have seen any other actor portray the conductor role of Terrence Fletcher the way J.K. Simmons did. I want to see more of him. Miles Teller, who played the other lead role of the aspiring drummer, has been starring in a lot of movies as of late. I have seen different sides of him, from the more realistic roles of Spectacular Now, cinematic protagonist in Divergent, and a little bit more of a fun role in that Awkward Moment, but Whiplash was a whole different side of Teller. I can’t wait to see this rising star in even more films, but J.K. Simmons really did steal the show.
And of course there’s the music, if this movie did anything else besides leave the longest interval of goosebumps during the credits, was to remind me that jazz is powerful and alive. I’ve never wanted to go sit in an audience and watch a band play as much as I did while watching this movie. Taking in a glimpse of what life is like behind those curtains made me really want to appreciate every drop of sweat artists pour into their instruments. What’s interesting is that I was assigned to cover the College of Music for my Media Writing Journalism class this semester, and I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy writing stories about these students now in an even more profound way.