School Ties is a story of anti-Semitism about a working-class Jewish teen who receives a football scholarship to a prestigious Protestant prep school in the 1950s. When this elite preparatory school, Saint Matthews, is in danger of losing yet another football season, they recruit David Greene (Brendan Fraser) from Scranton, Pa. as their new starting quarterback. David is an extremely intelligent and amiable young man but has trepidations about his Jewish working class background, so to fit in he hides his religion from his wealthy prejudiced classmates. Soon he is not only part of the group, he is the star quarterback. Everything is going well for David until one of the young men (Matt Damon) overhears an alumnus state his disdain for St. Matthews allowing a Jew into the school. Matt Damon tells other students that David is Jewish, and David is ostracized. With the exposure and his integrity in question, David has some difficult times ahead but has no idea that the hatred of this one student will push him into an impossible corner. Through David Greene, we are brought into the lives of many characters that we initially like, only to find that their personalities are deeply flawed with prejudice. Matt Damon often plays likeable yet flawed characters. Here he starts out likeable, but through certain events in the movie we see his true colors come out. Actually, I noticed that almost every character reacted differently to David Greene after finding out he was a Jew. This shows the bigotry and the huge canyon of mistrust that so often exists between those of privilege and the “right” background versus those with very little and “suspected” background. Nice re-creation of the 1950’s era, including mentalities of the period. I realize the ’50s were a very conservative era and this movie sheds light on that closed-mindedness. Though at times I found the boys’ reaction to Fraser’s Jewishness hard to believe, but then to put it in modern context if you replace Jew with gay it is very believable. The cast is a wonderful and talented group of young actors who were just beginning their careers: Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O’Donnell, Ben Afleck and Amy Locane. What an all-star cast! The performances are solid from the entire cast. Brendan Fraser did an amazing job with this role, giving an especially compelling performance. Great movie that intelligently explores prejudice, loyalties, class differences and coming of age. Even though set in the 1950’s this film is as relevant today as it was then and very appropriate for young teens and adults who love a warm and inspiring drama. Watch this one for yourself — share it with your teens. This would be a good movie to show a history class because it’s not boring and you can learn from this movie. Several reviewers mention the relevance of this story: 1. From personal experience I can tell you this movie accurately shows what anti-Semitism is like, and how difficult it is to hide your faith. 2. I really liked this movie, but as a colored minority I can’t help but say that it must be nice for any white person of any religion to be able to hide behind his skin color. 3. As an American Muslim teenager who happened to go to a Catholic high school, this movie really hit close to home. It’s sad to think that even though this movie was set in the 50’s about the persecution of Jews, that even now it is applicable. A definite must-see for anyone to learn about the real-life face of prejudice. The school in the film is a mainline Protestant-affiliated institution as was typical of prep schools in that era. In fact, the story is partly based on Dick Wolf’s experiences as a Catholic attending Phillips Academy. What a great movie. I absolutely love this film. The cast is great and the movie was very well written. Great acting, great story, you won’t be disappointed. For some reason, I really can’t stop watching this movie. I really enjoy this every time I watch it. No matter how many times I see this film, I love it! I would recommend this to anyone. Definitely a must-see movie. Drama 1992 PG-13 107 minutes.
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