"The Lakecliff Scandal"
Directed by Atom Egoyan
Written by David McKenna
Produced by Sean Bailey & Alan Ladd, Jr.
Distributed by Focus Features
Cinematography by John Toll
Editing by Hughes Winborne
Music by Philip Glass
Mena Suvari as Samantha Obregon
Liam Aiken as Kyle Blakley
Jenna Boyd as Melissa Rogers
Holly Hunter as Joanna Rogers
Freddy Rodríguez as Luis Obregon
James Cromwell as Albert Hudson
Marlee Matlin as Donnie Blakley
Forest Whitaker as Raymond Fisher
Tagline: "Some relationships shouldn’t have happen at all"
Synopsis: Samantha Obregon is the new English teacher at Lakecliff High School in Lakecliff , California . She is young, friendly, and very attractive, especially in the eyes of Kyle Blakley, the most popular boy in school. Samantha also grows fond of Kyle, seeing that he is attractive and he keeps her company after school is over. One day, she tells him that she’s sick and tired of her alcoholic husband Luis and that she wants to leave him. Kyle hugs her, and then they kiss and began to have sex with each other. Their relationship continues for two weeks, and one day they were discover by Melissa, a shy and quiet girl who spies on them in the classroom.
Melissa doesn’t tell anyone what see saw for a few days until her mother Joanna notices that something wasn’t right with her. Melissa tells her mother what she saw, and this puts the school into national attention. This news greatly affects the school and the town, and some that were affected by all the media are Samantha, who has been arrested for her crime, Kyle, who denies the fact that he came on to her, Melissa, who becomes the center of all the media and is the key witness, her mother Joanna, the school’s friendly principal Albert Hudson, Samantha’s alcoholic husband Luis, Kyle’s deaf and protective mother Donnie Blakley, and the nervous school district superintendent Raymond Fisher.
Over a few months this town will change dramatically, and the media will continue to aggravate all of them, and someone will be charged with this crime, thanks to the relationship between a teacher and her student.
What the Press would say:
From director Atom Egoyan comes a compelling film about a scandal that ruins the lives of individuals in a small California town. Egoyan creates a moving dramatic film that stars a wonderful ensemble that’ll be remember throughout this Oscar season. Both Liam Aiken and Mena Suvari shine within this strong ensemble as Kyle Blakley and Samantha Obregon, respectively. Aiken plays a school jock who starts an affair with his teacher, and after they’ve been discovered he denies the fact that he came on to her and struggles with his conscience and guilt throughout the movie, especially in the scene where he tells his mother the truth and that he can’t spend his life in jail. Suvari shines as the teacher who pays a heavy price after cheating on her husband and having sex with Kyle. The scene in which she cries for forgiveness to her husband in the courtroom is beyond amazing, and will bring serious Oscar contention.
Not only were they the stars of the film but so were the supporting cast. Academy Award nominee James Cromwell stars as a principal who loves his job, the faculty, and the students. He does everything in his power to save the school from national attention, but fails to and breaks down emotionally, especially in his break down scene in his office. Freddy Rodríguez plays Luis, the alcoholic husband of Samantha. Throughout the film he questions himself of why his wife would do that to him and where he went wrong. The scene where his visits his wife and keeps asking her what he did wrong is simply wonderful. Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker plays Raymond Fisher, a school district superintendent who is questioned by media constantly. Though he is only in the film for ten minutes he does an outstanding job in the press conference scene where he repeatedly tells the reporters he knows nothing about the incident. Jenna Boyd plays Melissa, a young, quiet, shy, and smart girl who becomes the center of all this due to the fact that she’s the key witness. She and her Joanna, played by Academy Award winner Holly Hunter, both shine in the scene where Melissa tells her mother what she saw, and Hunter’s reaction to what she heard was wonderful. Finally there’s Academy Award Marlee Matlin, a fine actress who plays Kyle’s mother Donnie. She doesn’t speak in the film at all, but her emotional scene where Kyle sings the truth to her and she slowly cries while signing to him is pure Oscar-worthy. Also, she tries to protect him from going to jail by lying to both the media and the court.
“The Lakecliff Scandal” is a marvelous film with great direction, outstanding acting, an amazing script written by David McKenna, and a beautiful score by Philip Glass. This is a film that’ll leave many wanting more and will be a force to be reckon with this coming February.
For Your Consideration
Best Director – Atom Egoyan
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Liam Aiken
Best Actress in a Leading Role – Mena Suvari
Best Actor in a Supporting Role – James Cromwell, Freddy Rodríguez, Forest Whitaker
Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Jenna Boyd, Holly Hunter, Marlee Matlin
Best Original Screenplay
Best Original Score