Art School Confidential

Art School Confidential is a 2006 American comedy-drama film directed by Terry Zwigoff and starring Max Minghella, Sophia Myles, John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Matt Keeslar, Ethan Suplee, Joel Moore, Nick Swardson, Adam Scott, and Anjelica Huston. It is loosely based on the comic of the same name by Daniel Clowes. The film is Zwigoff's second collaboration with Clowes, the first being 2001's Ghost World (which was also released by United Artists).

Art School Confidential
Art school confidential.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTerry Zwigoff
Screenplay byDaniel Clowes
Based on
Art School Confidential
  • Daniel Clowes
Produced byDaniel Clowes
John Malkovich
Russell Smith
Lianne Halfon
StarringMax Minghella
Sophia Myles
John Malkovich
Anjelica Huston
Jim Broadbent
Matt Keeslar
Ethan Suplee
Joel David Moore
CinematographyJamie Anderson
Edited byRobert Hoffman
Music byDavid Kitay
Distributed bySony Pictures Classics
Release dates
  • January 23, 2006 (2006-01-23) (Sundance)
  • May 5, 2006 (2006-05-05)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million
Box office$3,306,629


Inspired by his longtime love of drawing, and hoping to meet girls, Jerome enrolls at the Strathmore School of Art. His roommates are aspiring filmmaker Vince and closeted-gay fashion major Matthew. Jerome looks for love amongst the female students, but is unsuccessful until he falls for art model Audrey, the daughter of a famous pop artist.

Jerome forms a friendship with classmate and perennial loser, Bardo, a four-time dropout, who guides him through the college scene and introduces him to Jimmy, a Strathmore graduate who is now a failed artist and belligerent drunk.

As Jerome learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to reality. Jerome slowly loses his idealism at art school and finds himself in competition with a mysterious student named Jonah for both Audrey's affection and artistic recognition. At the same time, a serial killer known as the Strathmore Strangler is on the loose near the campus, confounding the police and inspiring Vince to create a documentary about the murders.

In a wild attempt to win a prestigious art competition, Jerome asks for, and gets, Jimmy's paintings, unbeknownst to him are the Strangler's victims. Accidentally dropping a lit cigarette in Jimmy's apartment, he causes a fire that destroys the building, leaving Jimmy and all the other residents dead. The police arrest Jerome as the Strangler (who in fact was Jimmy).

Audrey realizes Jerome is her true love and that she was stupid to be interested in Jonah, who turns out to be an undercover police officer with a wife and baby at home. Jerome is sent to prison, but his paintings, particularly one of Audrey, become prized by collectors.

Vince scores a huge hit with his documentary about the Strangler called My Roommate: The Murderer. In prison, Jerome continues to paint and sells his works at high prices, not caring that people think he is the killer as it has brought him financial success and recognition. Audrey comes to visit him in prison, and they share a kiss through the protective glass.



Sophia Myles was terrified about her nude scene (the first in her career) but finally she did it. "If there is going to be nudity in a film, I would rather do it myself than use my body double. If they use one, they can go and do a day's shooting, you don't know what they're doing and people still think it's you," she said.[1]


[Art School Confidential] was really negatively received both at the box office and critically. Everybody hated that film. I didn't think it was so bad. At least compared to all that other shit out there, anyway. It was certainly just as good as any film in the marketplace. And I'm not saying it's a great film. I'm just saying it's better than most of the dreck.

— Terry Zwigoff in 2012[2]

Art School Confidential received mixed feedback from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 35% of 136 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.40/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "Art School [Confidential]s misanthropy is too sour, its targets too flat and clichéd, and Clowes and Zwigoff stumble when trying to build a story around the premise."[3] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gives the film a score of 54 based on 42 reviews.[4]

Artwork in the filmEdit

Much of the artwork featured in the film was produced by practicing visual artists with art careers independent of the film. The figurative drawings and paintings made by the main character Jerome were created by Caitlin Mitchell-Dayton, an Oakland, California painter and long-time professor at the San Francisco Art Institute.[5] The Marvin Bushmiller character's work was created by musician and Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh, who is also a painter with a long exhibition record independent of his involvement with the film.[6] The paintings made by the character Jonah were produced by Oakland, California artist and graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, creator of the short comic on which the film was based as well as the author of its screenplay and co-producer.[7]


  1. ^ "Sophia power". Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  2. ^ Taylor, Drew (2012-12-20). "Terry Zwigoff Talks Battling Over 'Bad Santa,' His Preferred Director's Cut & Much More In Candid Interview". IndieWire. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
  3. ^ Art School Confidential at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ Art School Confidential at Metacritic  
  5. ^ "SFAI". Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  6. ^ "Exhibitions". Mutato Art. Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  7. ^ Art School Confidential (2006) - IMDb, retrieved 2020-12-01

External linksEdit