Yesterday, I was able to take advantage of $5 Tuesday’s and see the movie Whiplash starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. I saw the preview for it a month prior and was interested because of the focus on drumming in the film (I played the drums for a while and they were my first instrument). Not only that but I sort of have a connection to Miles Teller. I don’t know him personally nor have I met him, but his father was childhood friends with my uncle. I guess my mom also knew his dad from the times he used to hang around their home growing up. So because of that little connection, my interest in a film goes up when he’s in it.
Whiplash is about a young aspiring musician, Andrew Neyman (Teller), in his first year of school at the Shaffer Conservatory of Music based in Manhattan (according to the film this fictional school is one of the most prestigious music schools in the country) and his relationship with his feared, hard-nosed instructor, Terence Fletcher (Simmons). Fletcher recruits Andrew to join his elite studio jazz band shortly into the movie where he learns of Fletcher’s highly demanding teaching methods. Throughout the film Fletcher shows Andrew just what it takes to be one of the greats using his not-so-kind approach.
As a musician and especially as a drummer, I loved this film. The particular style of music played in it (jazz) isn’t one I’m familiar with as far as playing goes, but I know enough to know that jazz is one of, if not the most difficult style of music to play as a drummer. This film is more than just music. It shows a person’s drive, passion, and desire to become the best at what he loves even when faced with someone who is willing to challenge him in the most difficult ways. The mental and physical struggle to prove Andrew’s desire to be the greatest drummer of all time is exhibited beautifully in the movie. It’s hard to not be inspired by it. It’s also hard to believe that this film will not be considered as part of the Oscar buzz. Just like it’s main character, it’s worthy of high achievement. So if you get a chance to see this, I recommend you do.