1h 46min | Directed by Richard Levine | USA | Drama
Suggested rating R
Sexual content, nudity and some language
Based on the acclaimed novel Blue Angel by Francine Prose, which slyly updates the 1930 Marlene Dietrich/Josef Von Sternberg classic for today’s politically correct times, Submission is a biting morality play about lust, ambition, power, and living in a world where scandal is as likely to make a reputation as destroy it.
Ted Swenson (Stanley Tucci) is a once-acclaimed author who teaches writing at a small liberal arts college. Though his marriage to Sherrie (Kyra Sedgwick) is comfortable, he finds himself drowning in discontent — stuffy departmental dinners at which he drinks too much, smug colleagues whom he dislikes yet fears he resembles, and an endless stream of students who are as untalented as they are unteachable. But when a new pupil, Angela Argo (Addison Timlin of Little Sister), shows promise, Ted focuses on nurturing her career, and she appears more than willing to devote the one-on-one time required. Basking in Angela’s youth, talent, and admiration, just as she benefits from Ted’s wisdom, experience, and professional connections, it’s only a matter of time before lines are crossed and it becomes unclear whether Ted is predator or prey and Angela is victim or victimizer. (c) Great Point Media
It’s an age-old fable about the point where desire meets device, and invariably loses.
Ella Taylor | NPR | Full review
Levine has kept the film tightly coiled and engrossing throughout.
Stephen Farber | Hollywood Reporter | Full review
It goes a long way that both of the leads are perfect for their parts. It’s compelling to watch Tucci push back against his usual smarminess, introducing Ted as a d*ck and then fighting to make him more sympathetic or pitiable as the character self-implodes…Timlin, a brilliant and beguiling young actress who has a habit of being the best thing about the movies she’s in, unsurprisingly proves to be an excellent foil for Tucci. Often playing straightforward and elusive at the same time, Timlin creates a transfixing dissonance between Angela’s naïveté and her natural cunning.
David Ehrlich | Indiewire | Full review