The 80's was probably the one decade in movie history that had the most movies either aimed at a high school audience or set in a high school.
They ranged from the utterly ridiculous through to the well researched and wry social comment that was Cameron Crowe's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High
One thing that they all shared was humor... One thing they most lacked was drama.
...Not so with "Class". It featured solid performances and high teen drama from a cast of unknowns. Unknowns who weren't destined to stay that way for long. For just as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High
" had established many stars of the future the year before, "Class" was to repeat this feat in 1983... This was the movie that introduced not only Andrew McCarthy and Rob Lowe but John Cusack as well !!!
Set at an upscale Illinois prep school, "Vernon Academy", Andrew McCarthy plays 'Jonathan', a somewhat geeky, sensitive student from a modest background on a scholarship who joins the school to become the roommate of 'Skip' played by Rob Lowe.
Skip is the son of a well known and wealthy family who is clearly rebelling against the very strict order and structure his successful and wealthy father is trying to push on him. When he first meets the awkward Jonathan his mischeiveous side is immediately revealed with a cruel but hilarious prank that leaves his awkward roommate in womens underwear, in front of the whole school.
Jonathan is quick to show his mettle in retaliation and the two become firm friends.
Skip is everything that poor Jonathan isn't. Sauve, sophisticated and experienced, the one area of Jonathan's life that Skip is most determined to assist in is ... his love life, of course! Jonathan foolishly reveals that he is an innocent in such areas and so Skip is determined to put an end to that.
And it is at this point that the movie starts to deviate significantly from the path of so many other "high-school" movies. rather than a tawdry and pathetic 'cherry losing' story, "Class" chooses to be both more realistic and suprisingly dramatic.
Skip sends Jonathan, alone, to a bar in the city that is known as a meat market to meet someone. After a few pitiful failures in the bar the poor, inexperienced Jonathan finds himself pitied by the older and very beautiful Ellen.
They have a warm and adult first night together with the experienced older woman guiding Jonathan into manhood. This leads to further meetings with the two of them both becoming more and more attached to each other.
Unbeknown to both of them, Ellen is, in fact, Skips mother! Weary of her life in a strict and seemingly loveless marriage, she was deliberately looking for excitement and romance. She does not realise Jonathan could be a friend of her son because he lies about his age and occupation.
However, after a few weeks, a chance glimpse of Jonathan's id in his wallet ends the romance suddenly with Ellen vanishing immediately, leaving Jonathan devastated.
And this is how the story probably would have ended, had Skip not invited Jonathan to his home for the Christmas break...
"Class" is just that... Class. The young cast deliver a very dramatic and accomplished performance with unusual depth for a teen movie.
The movie tries to cover many aspects of adolescent life and the pressures thereof. Not just romance but academic pressure, peer pressure and the inevitable split loyalties.
Orion were probably worried about selling a 'serious' teen school movie to the public so they tried to sell the movie as just another screwball highschool sex comedy. But that couldn't be further from the truth.
If you haven't ever seen the film I would recommend it very highly if you fancy something with some depth for a change...Notice any mistakes? Review
Depth of character, story
Not light viewing after 30 mins.Our rating:
9.0 out of 10Review Written by Nick: Contact | More Reviews by Nick