More notable perhaps for a roster of future stars and Oscar winners than for its unexceptional plot, this well executed film nevertheless has its charms. The setting is 1950s America: David (Fraser) is the son of a Jewish miner who wins a football scholarship to a privileged (but anti-semitic) school. Initially he conceals his religion until he's exposed by a jealous friend (Damon). The script effectively dramatises the school's competitive, hothouse atmosphere and is sensitive to the situations of all the pupils, as well as to the pressure of expectation and tradition. However, David's stereotypically pure and hardworking blue collar origins muddy the moral, making it unclear whether the film's main target is anti-semitism or the corruption of the privileged. The cop-out Hollywood ending further gums up an otherwise polished and thoughtful work.
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