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The Class

By Alan Ng | October 18, 2022

If you’ve ever seen teen dramas, you know that The Class is more than just a bunch of kids taking an exam. Ms. Long takes this opportunity to turn this Saturday session into a teen support group. As the students create characters for their dramas, they represent a more authentic version of themselves. In contrast, Faulk becomes more and more impatient with Long’s “exam” and tries to shut the group down, as clearly it becomes a therapy session and a massive liability lawsuit.

The story structure is straightforward. Debbie Gibson brings her charm to the well-intentioned teacher who wants to open the minds of her students to a bigger and better world they can create together. Anthony Michael Hall brings a nice homage to the late Paul Gleason. The teen cast is more than up for the challenge of taking on the struggles and emotions of today’s teens.

The teen cast is more than up for the challenge…”

Much like The Breakfast ClubThe Class is made for teens who feel like they can’t talk about their feelings or have agency in their life. But, unlike that 1980s classic, it doesn’t split the group into teen social roles (Jock, Nerd, Prom Queen, Delinquent, and Freak). Instead, Celozzi splits the individuals into their personal and cultural struggles. He addresses issues of not being seen or heard. The film also looks at rejection versus living one’s truth.

The main difference between The Breakfast Club and The Class is that the latter feels very safe. I don’t always want to be safe in my cinematic experiences. It works hard to empathize with today’s youth and be a safe space for expression. I’m not so sure that the teen troubles of the 80s were that much different compared to today. The difference is that we have a different way of talking about it and more mental health resources available at our school to better work through these issues.

The Class, to me, feels like an educational and awareness film for teens, parents, and educators. I’m just not convinced there will be much of an appeal for broader audiences. Maybe the best comparison is Disney Channel versus HBO. Nevertheless, the film successfully brings out many problems and insecurities that today’s teens experience.

For screening information, visit The Class Facebook page.

The Class (2022)

Directed and Written: Nicholas Celozzi

Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Debbie Gibson, Lyric Ross, Charlie Gillespie, Colin McCalla, Michael Sebastian, Juliette Celozzi, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

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"…works hard to empathize with today's youth and be a safe space for expression."

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