Movie review: My Old School is stranger than fiction

Content of the article

In the delightful 2014 comedy gigglesKeira Knightley (almost 30) pretends to be the high school girlfriend of Chloë Grace Moretz (then 17), a ruse that does not deceive for a moment the father of her character, played by Sam Rockwell. But I guess real life works a little differently

Content of the article

In Jono McLeod’s new documentary My old schoolthe Scottish filmmaker tells the story of his former classmate Brandon Lee, who joined Bearsden Academy in Glasgow in 1993 pretending to be 16 when he was actually twice that age. And for an entire year he fooled teachers and students, despite looking like a cross between Alan Ruck in Ferris Bueller’s day off and Ben Platt in the film version of Dear Evan Hansen.

We don’t see much of Brandon, who agreed to be interviewed for this film, but not in front of the camera. So there are some old snapshots and some grainy footage from the school play – a production of South Pacific where Brandon sang, with admirable irony, younger than spring. These days, actor Alan Cumming takes his place, lip-synching interviews so well that you almost forget he’s not the mystery man in question.

Content of the article

Much of the film includes interviews with former classmates, many of whom were so charmed by Brandon at the time that even now they bear little grudge against him for his subterfuge – although the girl he kissed in the school play is naturally weird. And what’s not to love about a newcomer who knows how to drive, can do a Clint Eastwood impression, and has a wealth of knowledge about cocktails, music, and literature? He was a good friend to several of the boys and an excellent study partner. Her biology teacher marveled that he knew more about the subject than she did.

It may seem like I’m giving away the surprises of this intriguing story, but McLeod saves the biggest reveals for the end of the film, when he tries (with partial success) to delve into why someone would make such a thing. . Brandon offers a possibility that seems a little flippant, but it’s his story and he sticks to it. Other theories are mooted, but the core of the mystery persists.

On the other hand, who hasn’t dreamed of rewinding their life to an earlier stage and reliving it, knowing what they know now? Fiction has had a lot of fun with the idea, usually using a DeLorean’s ex machina chronos, a time turner, or some sort of time machine. Brandon tried it for real and – for a time, at least – managed to take a second run as a teenager. As a cautionary tale, it’s stranger than fiction.

My Old School opens July 29 in Toronto and Vancouver, with more cities to follow.

4 out of 5 stars

Leave a Comment