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Art School Confidential (2006)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 12 May 2006 (USA)
Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, the protagonist pursues his true obsession to art school. But as he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him.



(screenplay), (comic story) (as Dan Clowes)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Ong ...
Professor Okamura
Monika Ramnath ...
Isaac Laskin ...


Jerome, a kid from the suburbs who loves to draw, goes to New York City's Strathmore College for his freshman year as a drawing major. Competition and petty jealousy consume faculty and students, with an end-of-first-semester best-student award held out as a grand plum. Worse, a strangler is on the loose, killing people on or next to campus. The idealistic Jerome falls in love with Audrey, a student who models for life-drawing classes and who responds to his sweetness. But he has a rival: the clean-cut, manly Jonah, also a first-year drawing student, whose primitive work draws raves and Audrey's attention. As cynicism seems to corrode everything, Jerome is desperate to win. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Who said anything about talent?


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including sexual references, nudity and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akademia tajemniczych sztuk pieknych  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$135,733, 7 May 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,296,916, 13 August 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The college's name, "Strathmore", is actually a company that manufactures things like sketch pads and tracing paper for artists. Most of the students throughout the movie use products from this brand. See more »


When Jerome visits Professor Sandiford, Sandiford is smoking a cigarette that disappears and reappears between shots. See more »


Bardo: I'm a living cliché just like the rest of these guys. I'm the guy who keeps dropping out and changing his major just because he's afraid he really sucks at everything.
See more »

Crazy Credits

An extra scene featuring the actors in Vince's film is shown after the credits. See more »


References The Munsters (1964) See more »


Provided by Audio Network Library - UK
Provided courtesy of Groove Addicts - Los Angeles
See more »

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User Reviews

A great, cynical comedy about the art world.
4 September 2009 | by See all my reviews

What can I say? I always considered that art- as in paintings, drawings and such- was a very complicated thing to follow. I mean, you see a painting, you let it be absorbed into your consciousness, you reflect about it, and then you decide about what it means and whether it has any significance to you. But how do you know if it's actually "art"? This is why I found Terry Zwigoff's "Art School Confidential" to be an utterly refreshing look at the art world, which is even more complicated than what I actually believed it to be. The film deals with a quiet, lonely boy called Jerome Platz (Max Minghella), who has been bullied and ignored ever since he was a child. Now, Jerome's hero is Pablo Picasso, and ever since he remember he's wanted to be a grand artist, like his hero. "I wanna be the greatest artist of the 21st century!," he often squeals delightedly throughout the film.

Anyway, little Jerome grows up, graduates from high-school and decides to enroll in a renowned art school, where young artists whose art is actually new and modern can hope to make a name out of themselves. This college is a tiny but colourful world populated with a large array of weird and quirky characters, all of them "artists", and in comes young, boyish, quiet Jerome trying to be an artist like all of them.

Upon entering his dorm room, he encounters his two roommates, a fat film major (Ethan Suplee) working on a short film based on some murders that have been terrorizing the campus grounds, and a noticeably gay fashion major (Nick Swardson) who swears he misses his girlfriend.

And in his most important class, little Jerome meets his holier-than-thou professor (John Malkovich) who's so full of himself to actually notice any of his students' work, a flunkie (Joel David Moore) who enrolled into art school just for the 'pussy', and...a gorgeous, sophisticated model (Sophia Myles) who also happens to be the daughter of a famous painter and who instantly becomes Jerome's muse and obsession.

Throughout the film, which is perfectly written and refreshingly funny, we follow Jerome's steady psychological downfall. He begins as a happy and anxious boy with dreams, and he slowly progresses into a disheartened, depressed, suicidal failure of an artist. This happens because his art isn't appreciated at all, because he notices how arbitrary and tediously unnerving the "art world" really is, and because his muse and obsession doesn't pay him any attention and prefers to mingle with a hunky, handsome new art student who also becomes the number one artist in school and who's "art" (if it can even be called that) Jerome loathes above anything else.

Why brings me back to the initial question: how do you know if something is really "art"? Through various hilarious and original encounters with artists, connoisseurs and art grads, Jerome begins to put two and two together and finds that this world that he so reveres is actually soul-sucking and lifeless. "It's not about how good you are," an art school grad (Jim Broadbent) says, "It's about how good you are at cock-sucking." But then, just when poor Jerome is about to give up on his life, his art, his everything...well, something happens that will give him one last chance to make a name for himself, to conquer his muse and adoration and to make sense out of all the craziness he's living through.

More than an ironic film that exposes "art" as we know it nowadays, this film touches on the basic human feelings of failure, redemption and need. It also talks about love. And it's also very, very funny...which is good, because there is still comedy in life's tragedies, isn't there? I highly recommend this film. Believe me, you will not be disappointed! Rating: 4 stars out of 4!!

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