‘Miss Stevens’ is a Delightful and Assured Directorial Debut

Miss Stevens

Just by the virtue of being an adult in a position of authority teachers are able to convey a certain level of control and levelheadedness over their students. Of course, not all students see teachers that way. The simple fact is that teachers are human being with their own set of flaws. Even on their worst days teachers need to keep up appearances, as presenting the slightest crack in the façade could lead to an onslaught of snarky, disrespectful behavior from a roomful of students. The debut directorial feature from Julia Hart, Miss Stevens offers a unique take on the teacher-student relationship through a charming story that blends comedy and drama over the course of a chaperoned trip over a weekend with a three young, disparate students. Miss Stevens is an assured debut feature that is anchored by an impressive performance from its star Lily Rabe.

Miss Stevens (Rabe) is the English teacher at a California high school, teaching the literary classics to her students. She’s reluctantly agreed to chaperone a trip of three students to a dramatic competition over the weekend. Joining Miss Stevens in her blue Volvo station wagon are Margot (Lili Reinhart), the ultra-organized student who excels at micromanaging; Sam (Anthony Quintal), the flamboyant young gay man; and Billy (Timothée Chalamet), a talented young man with a troubled streak. Over the course of the weekend, Margot must contend with the realization that she’s incapable of planning every minute detail; Sam must deal with teenage relationship woes; and Billy is struggling with his own infatuation with Miss Stevens, as well as his reputation of being a troublemaker. Throughout it all, though, Miss Stevens herself is dealing with some personal pain, often coping with her pain through the consumption of alcohol. Three days isn’t a long trip, but it certainly can feel like it when everyone is trying to keep themselves together.

A modestly budgeted independent film, Miss Stevens heavily relies on its actors to carry the film, and each performer is more than up to the task. As the lead, Lily Rabe gives the finest performance of her burgeoning career. A lot of demanded of Rabe in the role, but she’s able to convey every disparate emotion required with an amazing sense of naturalism. To balance out Rabe’s performance are the three strong performances from the trio of young actors, each excellent in their roles. Anthony Quintal is the more overtly comedic of the group as boisterous Sam. Encapsulating the spirit of every overachiever is Lili Reinhart, who devolves into an almost manic state when her intricate plans are met with the slightest resistance. Rounding out the young cast is the nuanced performance by Timothée Chalamet, whose character is the most troubled of the teens but avoids playing the role as something out of an after school special. Chalamet captures the spirit of so many disaffected teens, moody and full of angst as he tries to figure out his place in the world.

The screenplay by Hart and Jordan Horowitz works a delicate balance between comedy and drama. Miss Stevens is a character that doesn’t have everything in her life figured out, but she’s not an irredeemable fuck-up. She’s a flawed character working through the issues that come with life. As a teacher, she’s not perfect but her heart is always in the right place and she put forth the effort to be a better educator. The movie seamlessly transitions in its tones, with some powerful emotional moments shifting into comedic moments. Hart and Horowitz present a deft touch in maintaining an emotional honesty through the stories many tonal shifts, by no means an easy feat.

Julia Hart has already proven herself to be a strong screenwriter with her work on last year’s The Keeping Room, but stepping behind the camera as a director for the first time she displays a new set of talents to compliment her writing. Miss Stevens features marvelous shots that aren’t showy but always work in service to the story. One shot of a distraught Miss Stevens lying in her hotel bed only illuminated by the soft light beside her otherwise surrounded by darkness is just one example of Hart employing imagery to accentuate the story. Between the film’s framing and blocking of actors, the briskly paced editing, and strong performances, Julia Hart has one of the most assured directorial debuts of recent memory.

Miss Stevens is an infinitely charming movie with an emotionally honest core. It’s a story that takes on the notion that anyone has it all together, even teachers. Life presents us with a problems, some that we can prepare for and others we can’t, but it’s never about having the answers; it’s about how we face moments of adversity. Miss Stevens hits such a large range of emotions throughout its running time that it’s very likely you won’t have a chance to wipe away your tears before you start laughing. Not many movies can do that so effectively. Everyone can find something to learn from Miss Stevens.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

No Responses

  1. Here Is TV | Miss Stevens September 20, 2016 Reply

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
The Tiger Hunter
Now on Blu-ray: ‘The Tiger Hunter’ Glides by with its Charming Heart

Always a hot-button issue, the topic of immigration has recently dominated...

'12 Strong' Press Conference
Chris Hemsworth and the Cast and Crew of ’12 Strong’ Discuss Bringing the Declassified True Story to the Big Screen

In the days after 9/11, as the United States grieved the...

Shout! Factory Unleashes Joe Dante’s Cult Classic ‘Matinee’ on Blu-ray

We’re at this point in pop culture where everything seems to...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Vr Change
Guest Author: Katie Green – How Might VR Change the Way We Play

Super Guest Author, Katie Green, shares how VR might change the...

Yu-Gi-Oh Wave of Light
A Big Wave is Coming – Yu-Gi-Oh Wave of Light Structure Deck Releases Friday

A big wave is coming in the form of light, Yu-Gi-Oh...

Yu-Gi-Oh Lost Cards
Ancient Treasures Uncovered – Yu-Gi-Oh Lost Art Cards

Beginning in February, ancient treasures will be revealed and fans will...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Die Hard Christmas
The Greatest Christmas Movie Becomes The Greatest Christmas Book – A Die Hard Christmas Review

The greatest Christmas movie ever made becomes the greatest Christmas storybook...

‘The 49th Key’ is a Familiar Story Told with Soul

Title: The 49th Key Written by: Erika Lewis Art by: J.K....

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, the ‘Doomsday Clock’ is about to Strike!

Title: Doomsday Clock #1 Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Gary Frank Colorist:...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
WWE Slam Crate Starts the Year Off Right

In just two weeks time WWE’s Royal Rumble not only continues...

January’s Loot Crate is Here!

January is a month where resolutions are made, hopes are extended...

Yu-Gi-Oh Kaiba
Yu-Gi-Oh March 2018 Will Be Great For Your Yu-Gi-Oh Kaiba Cards

Yu-Gi-Oh March 2018 will be great for your collection of Yu-Gi-Oh...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
LFA 30 Full Results

Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), one of the most recognizable names in...

AXS TV Closes NJPW’s ‘G1 Climax 27’ With Four Episodes From The Final Weekend Beginning Friday Oct. 13

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 11, 2017) – “Rainmakers” and “High Fly...

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero has created an auction to raise money for UNIDOS por Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

I’m The costume was worn by Rocky during the final Roppongi...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Adult Continuity #11 Star Wars Underworld: A XXX parody


New Year's Resolutions for Fandom
New Year’s Resolutions for Fandom

It’s the start of another year and while everyone out there...

Samo Says: Star Wars – The Last of My Patience

When I was a child, I loved Star Wars. I had...

Event News Event Reviews
dough bar
The Dough Bar and the Protein Donut

Created by Marquez and Ondrea Fernandez, The Dough Bar Doughnuts are...

Improve Sleep and Performance with TrueDark

TrueDark by Biohacked aims to improve your sleep, performance, and health by...

Pyramid Escape Room Review
Escape Room LA’s The Pyramid Escape Room Review

Overview of The Pyramid Escape Room The Pyramid Escape Room, Escape Room...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...