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WONDER BOYS

USA, 2000 (MIFF 2000)

Director: Curtis Hanson

From Curtis Hanson, the Director of the critically acclaimed LA Confidential, comes Wonder Boys. The film chronicles a chaotic weekend in the life of Grady Tripp, a frustrated college literature professor. An unfinished novel, a stolen car, a murdered pet, an unstable student, a fed-up wife, a pregnant lover - it's safe to say that Grady Tripp has a number of issues to deal with this weekend.

Grady is a 50-ish English professor who hasn't had a thing published in years, not since he wrote his award-winning Great American Novel when he was still young. It's hardly surprising then, that his college's annual literary festival fills the former wonder boy with more than his usual quota of self-doubt and anxiety. This festival weekend however, proves even worse than he could have imagined as he finds himself reeling from one misadventure to another in the company of a new wonder boy. James Leer. Leer is Grady's most gifted writing student. He's also a compulsive and skilled liar whose peculiar behaviour launches the professor on a picaresque odyssey of self-discovery and bittersweet love.

With LA Confidential, Hanson displayed a prodigious ability to capture both the head-long rhythms of a complex plot and the peculiarities of a motley assortment of characters. Michael Douglas is superb as the awkward academic Tripp, Frances McDormand equally accomplished as his long suffering mistress. A razor sharp script and a first rate cast—furiously funny!

*â–  Curtis Hanson is a guest of the Festival

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