Disgrace – Movie Review
David Lurie, twice-divorced and dissatisfied with his job as an English professor in post-apartheid South Africa, finds his life falling apart. When he seduces one of his students he is dismissed from his teaching position, and takes refuge on his daughter’s farm in the Eastern Cape. For a time, his daughter’s influence and natural rhythms of the farm promise to harmonise his discordant life. But the balance of power in the country is shifting. In the aftermath of a vicious attack on the farm, he is forced to come to terms with more than his disgrace alone.
Disgrace is John Malkovich at his most John Malkovich-ish. The story is based on a novel that’s set in South Africa about a college professor who hits on some of his younger students and he is disgraced and in fact goes to visit his daughter who lives in South Africa on a farm by herself, and who at some point during the movie is actually attacked and brutally raped by three black boys in South Africa and is impregnated. My assumption is that the main character learns about his exploitation of women from his daughter being brutally raped. The problem is the comparison. A woman who will go and have sex with a professor voluntarily, even though it may be abuse of his position, is not the same as a woman being raped, not to mention, brutally raped. You cannot equate the two. Somehow the idea that he comes to grips with his own misogyny by seeing his daughter in such dire straits, I thought, was really pushing it. They’re not balanced positions so watching the movie made me really irritated. On the other hand, it does leave sort of an interesting after-effect. Not my favorite movie, but I’d probably give it two stars.