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By HOWARD McQUITTER II
oldschoolmovies.wordpress.com
howardmcquitter68@gmail.com

“Submission”
(2017) Drama
Great Point Media

2.5/5 stars

I never read Francine Prose’s novel “Blue Angel” but the movie the novel is based on is unfortunately (and perhaps mercifully) prosaic, hackneyed, and squanders what could and should have a better look into # Me Too politics.

Though director Richard Levine (“Every Day”) concludes his movie, “Submission” speaks for itself without rendering anymore dirty details about real or perceived sexual harassment in the workplace.

Ted Swenson (Stanley Tucci) is a professor of creative writing at a small college in bucolic Vermont teaching a handful of students. One student Angel Argo (Addison Timlin), in particular, stands out as a candidate with great writing abilities. Swenson seems like a happily married man to Sherrie (Kyra Sedgwick), a campus nurse, with one daughter Ruby (Colby Minifie) about to come home from a college.

As time passes, Angela gives Ted copies of a novel she’s writing by the title Eggs. He likes what she’s writing and says so. She returns to his office many times giving the professor more pages for him to read. Make no mistake about it, “Submission” is oozing with predictability.

Of course, the saga vamps up when Ted and Angela cross the line of morality and professionalism causing more grief for both, especially for the prof.

The line crossed is Ted and Angela engage in an illicit sexual relationship or short of that—too much kissing and touching anyway.

After that ordeal, Ted’s life begins to crumble once Angela slaps a sexual harassment suit on him. The dean (Ritchie Coster) tells him resignation is in order. Ted and Angela go before the college board to each tell what happened.

Angela sits next to her parents hanging on to her like an octopus showing only showing a little emotion. So when Angela proceeds to tell the “dirty” details before the board she adds a ring of untruth to her story. Ted objects to her story by standing up saying such and such isn’t true.

Ted’s life gets worse when he tells his wife Sherrie (Kyra Sedgwick) the bad news of his affair at a four-five restaurant the response is unforgiving. His daughter (Colby Minifie) calls him blaming for causing her mother pain. Ted now faces a wife that leaves him, a daughter that he’s alienated and a good job he’s out of. For Angela does she go on to write that great novel, the one with erotic notions– sort of a reality play?

As I look to find a much more telling story of sexual harassment I find such a story (based on real events) in director Niki Coro’s movie “North Country”(2005) centers on Lori Jenson’s (Charlize Theron) harassment case against a Minnesota iron mine in 1984. “North Country” has much more gravitas than Levine’s post- Weinstein “Submission” on sexual harassment or lack thereof.

Addison Timlin does the best she can with a stunningly mediocre script that’s blandly executed. Levine also writes the script; he directs the movie.

Cast: Stanley Tucci (Ted Swenson), Addison Timlin (Angela Argo), Janeane Garofalo (Magda Moynaham, Kyra Sedgwick (Sherrie Swenson), Ritchie Coster (Dean Bentham), Colby Minifie (Ruby Swenson), Henry Stram (Dave Sterret), Ashley Trawinski (Meg), Juan Castano (Carlos), Stephanie Berry (Arlene Shurley), Devin Kawaoka (Danny), David Pittu (Bernard Levy), Nicole Orth-Pallavicini (Govind), Kenneth De Abrew (Govind),S.J. (Female Student). Director: Richard Levine. Writer: Richard Levine. Running time: 97 minutes. Not rated.

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