‘Whiplash’ hit me straight to the core. I will never again think of a pianist, or any other musician for that matter, as superior than a drummer. I will never enjoy another jazz music without reflecting on the heartache, hard work and crazy practice and skills involved to achieve the sounds that we so easily savour.
Whiplash is more than just an inspiring story
It makes me wish I was younger and could practice harder (but probably not as hard as Andrew Neyman in that movie!).
It emphasizes the fact that great artists, great athletes, great dancers, etc, did not become ‘great’ without great sacrifice. It is not mere luck that made them great – it is:
- sheer determination,
- hard work,
- grit and tenacity, among others,
….that produce those seemingly effortless performance.
We’ve seen this before in other movies such as Rocky, Black Swan, etc, and it’s good to be reminded of the fact once in a while.
Butterflies filled my tummy towards the end of the movie – that’s how much excitement and feelings extracted by Whiplash.
Whether you hate or accept Terence Fletcher (superbly played by J.K. Simmons, winner of Best Actor in a Supporting Role at Oscars 2015), you will understand his motive.
He is like a cook who brings out the best in the main ingredient.
I wish the perfect ending isn’t so abrupt, though.
Musically and emotionally intense!
Whiplash even elicited a thought in my son who said, Andrew Neyman (the main character) as ‘the musical equivalent of Rocky Balboa’.
Although it’s just a movie, not a reality, I think every kid should watch this, with adult supervision of course.
And if they ever think of their parents or teachers as hard task masters who are trying to drive them mad, after watching Whiplash, kids will most definitely feel better about their plights in school.
Merely doing your homework is not hard work!
Granted, not everyone can carry such weight and pressure, and not everyone has the destiny to be ‘great’, but when properly applied and understood, extreme pressure and intense heat can create diamonds.
There are many ‘moral of the story’ in Whiplash that could be discussed with the whole family.
In spite of its frequent foul language, I believe it’s good for kids to watch Whiplash because there are plenty life lessons for them to think about such as what to do and whom to go to for help when they’re depressed or feel stressed.
Just be prepared to explain things to them such as the extraction of talent via application of intense pressure.
The finale was so intense, it was almost like watching somebody giving birth and fighting for their life!
I don’t write a synopsis of the movie because it’s easily available online. I’m just going to urge you to watch it.
And if you’re interested to get a professional and respected drummer’s opinion of Whiplash, you could read HERE. Remember – creative licence.
By the way, the movie line-ups at the Oscars this year is really fantastic.
Mostly inspiring, as though the movie industry anticipated the world’s need for inspiration and motivation. 2014 was filled with tragedy and natural and economic disasters.
But bear in mind, movies are planned and made years before they appear on the silver screen.
Is it a coincidence that gloriously inspiring movies came out in droves last year?
Movies To Watch
Do watch Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Boyhood and Birdman – those are stories that will stay in our hearts for a long time. Gone Girl and The Grand Budapest are fabulous, too – the former is a surprisingly disturbing thriller (I am still disturbed and still have mixed feelings about whether to pity the husband in that story) while the latter movie is a sweet story that really is delightful to watch.
And I still have many more excellent movies to consume – eg Still Alice, Selma, Foxcatcher, Wild, etc – I am sure they will not disappoint.
That’s what movies are supposed to do – provoke thoughts, motivate, inspire, or make us laugh, or remind us of our childhood – leave imprints that remain in our hearts long after we have left the cinema.
Makes us wonder, makes us remember.
Meanwhile, let’s ponder over these words by Terence Fletcher:
There are no two words in the English language more harmful than ‘good job’.