Plot: What’s it about?
I wasn’t quite prepared for the impact that Submission would have on me. The premise sounded intriguing enough for me to want to seek it out, but it was a lot more effective than I thought it would be. I often see reports of teachers having affairs with students, but seeing it played out in a film like this was certainly interesting. Thinking back over the film, I realize that all the choices made, including the deliberate pacing are keen in why the film works. It’s also one that I’ll touch on the basic premise, but leave out particular plot points as not to spoil things. Indeed, seeing how the film plays out is part of what makes it so interesting.
Ted Swenson (Stanley Tucci) is a novelist who had a successful first book, but seems to have hit a hurdle when writing his second one. He is also a college professor and teaches a creative writing class. He takes to one of his students named Angela (Addison Timlin) as she’s quite literate and very talented. She’s writing a book called Eggs which she gives pieces of to Ted to read and give his honest feedback, which he does. In fact, he’s so in love with what he reads that this draws him closer to Angela, though everything is kosher for a good while. Throughout the course of the film, we follow Ted’s personal life. He’s married to Sherri (Kyra Sedgwick) and they have one daughter who is away at college. We see that Angela becomes a bit pushier, insisting Ted give her prompt feedback, and even asking him to drive her to go buy a new computer one day. He doesn’t jump at the opportunity, but eventually agrees to it. Should be harmless, right? Well, it’s about this point that things grow complicated. She asks him to help carry the computer up to her dorm, but he refuses at first. After persuading him to come be “moral support”, he insists. What happens next in her dorm room is best left for viewers to see, but be prepared things don’t turn out as we might expect.
Submission kept me with it. It’s one of those films that would greatly benefit from repeat viewings. I loved the way the film slowly develops which helps make the interaction between the two lead characters all the more impactful. We know that Ted has done wrong, but the film has empathy, and we almost hope and think that things might not turn out so bad for either of them. The acting is top notch, and it has to be in a film like this. Tucci is great at playing somewhat vulnerable, but ultimately giving into temptation. Timlin also does great in her part, which sort of twists a bit as well. The film really asks us is Ted a predator or prey and is Angela victim or victimizer. I think it does a great job at that. It’s a film about an obviously touchy subject, but feels organic in some ways. Viewing it a second time to pick up on clues and with a fresh perspective would only enhance the experience. Submission comes highly recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
While not an overly flashy film, the visuals are quite pleasing to the eyes. With Vermont as its setting, there are plenty of opportunities to display strong colors with background details displaying good clarity. Flesh tones and textures are nice and smooth and the print has a clean look to it. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We get a pretty straightforward DTS HD track that serves its purpose right. There’s music on occasion that comes through nicely, but mostly the film is dialogue driven and has the clarity we’ve come to expect. This track suits the film nicely.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Previews – Other Universal titles are featured.
The Bottom Line
While not a thriller or even tense in the traditional sense, Submission works in large part to the great cast and the moral dilemma at the film’s center. It’s certainly a touchy subject, but it does a good job at presenting the scenario and shifting things around a bit to make us think back over it. It’s well worth seeing and is deserving of multiple viewings. It’s a film that will stay with you and create some good discussions amongst friends. Recommended.