Bad Education is a drama film written by Mike Makowsky and directed by Cory Finley. Featuring Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, and others, the movie is based on a true story of the largest public embezzlement in the history of the USA.
Dr. Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) is a Long Island school district superintendent, everyone’s favorite and a role model. However, he looks like an angel only from the outside. Together with his assistant superintendent for business, Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney), Frank pockets a massive part of the entrusted school budget. The couple is looking forward to implementing an ambitious project to build a bridge between the buildings of one of the schools, which will bring them a lot of money.
But some flaws, as well as a plucky student reporter who decides to dig deep into some expense report, will put the entire embezzlement scheme of epic proportions at risk.
This is a real story that happened in New York in the early 2000s, and the scriptwriter of the film studied at the same school where Tasson worked.
Jackman's charm is also impossible to resist, even though his character does not deserve it at all. According to Makowsky, as a child, he and those around him were shocked not by the fact of theft but by the contradictory character of Tasson. Before the scandal, he was a local hero. Being a master of positive messaging, Tasson made the school one of the country's best educational institutions. In the film, Jackman's hero knows all of his current students and almost all of the previous ones.
Much seems to indicate that all this is just a cover-up, which allows Frank to hide the true order of things. At the same time, Tasson reads books to kids on his own initiative. He puts too much effort to simply maintain the image, don’t you think?
For the United States, Bad Education is an interesting commentary on today's social agenda. Can we keep listening to Michael Jackson? Should the films produced by Harvey Weinstein be forgotten? Should we forget about Kevin Spacey's filmography? In each case, everything depends on an individual decision, which will be prompted by our moral compass.
There’s a lot to like in Bad Education, especially how the performance gives Jackman a chance to show a different side of himself. Finley can craft a beautiful, character-driven, compelling movie out of this crazy true story.