- Movie Rating -

Class (1983)

| July 6, 1983

Class is a prep school sex fantasy that only really gets the prep school part right.  As for sex and fantasy, well they’re kind of broken down by awkward sexual encounters and a plot revelation about mental illness that crushes the fantasy right out existence.

For the purposes of this review, I am going to offer a Spoiler Warning, despite the fact that the studio is making no bones about revealing the film’s big secret which is in all the ads and even on the poster.  But first thing’s first.

Andrew McCarthey is Jonathan Ogner, a wet-behind-the-ears country boy who gets a scholarship to one of those prep schools where everyone in the student body comes from a family of wealthy snobs and hates anyone who spends less than $500 for a tie.  His roommate is no less a snob, he’s Squire Franklin “Skip” Burrows IV, (Rob Lowe), a cynical jerk who plays a cruel prank on Jonathan five minutes after they meet.

Jonathan and Skip trades elaborate practical jokes back and forth until one prank ends in a fake suicide (are you laughing yet) and they call it a truce.  Skip kind of likes Jonathan but during one of their conversations is appalled to learn that his roommate is still a virgin.  He sends Jonathan to Chicago with hopes that he can meet the right girl to welcome him to manhood.

She turns out to be Ellen (Jaqueline Bissett), a beautiful older woman that he falls immediately in lust with.  They have sexual encounters that are, at best, awkward, and at worst, unconvincing.  One particular scene in a glass elevator is just painful.  Then she brings him home for Christmas and (here’s the film’s big secret) she turns out to be Skip’s mother.  Skip is, needless to say, less than enthused.

The rest of the movie really takes a deep, dark detour into alcoholism, drunkenness, mental illiness and questions of friendship verses ethics.  I’m giving away far less than the ads for this film did, so I guess I’m doing you a favor but not so much by not recommending the movie.  Class is an odd labyrinth of issues and problems that really should have made for a drama fit for Tennessee Williams, but they come off of an opening act that seems to come out of a teen sex comedy.  The balance is really off and the movie never really gets to the meat of the issues that it raises.  This is a very uncomfortable movie.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1983) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy, Drama