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The Professor (originally titled Richard Says Goodbye) is a 2018 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Wayne Roberts. The film stars Johnny Depp, Rosemarie DeWitt, Danny Huston, Zoey Deutch, Ron Livingston and Odessa Young.

The Professor
The Professor.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWayne Roberts
Produced by
  • Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
  • Greg Shapiro
  • Braden Aftergood
Written byWayne Roberts
Starring
Music by
CinematographyTim Orr
Edited bySabine Emiliani
Production
company
Distributed bySaban Films
Release date
  • October 5, 2018 (2018-10-05) (Zurich)
  • May 17, 2019 (2019-05-17) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Box office$1.6 million[1]

It had its world premiere at the Zurich Film Festival on October 5, 2018. It was released on May 17, 2019, by Saban Films.

Contents

PlotEdit

Professor Richard Brown is in the office of his doctor and receives bleak news concerning his health. He has advanced stage cancer of his lungs which has spread throughout his body with mortal consequences. His life expectancy is set by the doctor as being 6 months without treatment, which might be extended to 12-18 months with aggressive and painful cancer treatment. Richard is devastated by the news, becoming self-abusive in verbal tirades against himself, and walking through town and around campus as if in an emotional stupor.

Upon arrival at home for dinner, Richard decides to tell his wife and only daughter Olivia the bad news and prepare them for the worst outcome possible. The dinner conversation however takes twisted and unexpected turns. Richard's relationship with his wife is troubled and tortured. His daughter decides to use dinner time to make her own personal announcement that she is LGBT in her orientation and that she has taken a lover. Her mother is unsupportive and berates her daughter as going through a phase, which causes Olivia to storm out of the dining room upset by her mother's lack of support. Veronica, Richard's wife, then decides to confront Richard with the fact that she believes that he has been a poor husband and that she has taken a lover on campus who happens to be the Dean of the college where Richard teaches as part of the tenured faculty in the English department. With everyone having argued at the dinner table, Richard never gets to make his medical report of his crisis situation.

At campus the next day, Richard greets his full classroom with a confrontational tone reflecting indirectly the bleakness of his own medical situation. He begins telling the students about the urgency of living life to its fullest and criticizes any number of stereotypes he superficially observes among the students in the classroom. He starts weeding out the students who he feels are there to only get easy good grades, or otherwise seek superficial benefits from a friendly faculty. After over half of the potential classroom students leave the class as being of no interest to them, Richard is left with a core group of students who seem attracted to his unorthodox version of straight talk. They decide to stick with the class and Richard's newly proclaimed unorthodoxy. Among the students remaining is the niece of the college Dean who seems to admire Richard for all his differences with her uncle since both of them, Richard and her uncle, are members of the faculty in different departments.

Richard asks his friend, who happens to be his department's Chairman to arrange for a sabbatical leave for him on immediate terms. The Chairman tells him that it is impossible on such short notice, but Richard continues to press him. Finally, Richard tells him that he is dying of cancer and that he has no options but to request the immediate sabbatical leave. The Chairman, who considers Richard a close friend and colleague, says that he will try his best and tries to reassure Richard as best as he can by way of some emotional support.

The classroom for Richard becomes a place for him to vent his frustration with life and to encourage his young students not to fall into the traps and false career paths which he took in his own life. The students are highly responsive with one of the gay students offering Richard some pot brownies and a sexual tryst in Richard's office. The Dean's niece, on another occasion, asks Richard for a romantic slow dance at a local club. Richard's reliance on alcohol and recreational drugs in these passing days and weeks after receiving his bad news becomes progressively worse. In one instance, he passes out and needs to be hospitalized because of his extreme intoxication.

One redeeming quality in Richard which surfaces is that he is able to express a warmth to his close family members and remaining friends after his bad news diagnosis which he could not express in the past before his cancer diagnosis. He finally bonds with his daughter by accepting her coming out as LGBT, and manages to at least partially patch things up with his wife during a frenzied and spontaneous drug experimentation episode in their home bedroom. The end however seems inevitable as Richard does not take on the doctor's option of using chemo-therapy to extend his life by a single year, and Richard decides to leave his home and family on his final sabbatical leave which has been finally approved by his college. Richard decides to take the less travelled path on his own, in his car and with his dog, in order not to be a burden upon his wife and daughter in his final months of life as his cancer rapidly progresses.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

On May 8, 2017, it was announced that Johnny Depp would star in a comedy drama film Richard Says Goodbye as a college professor in the titular role, to be written and directed by Wayne Roberts following his debut film Katie Says Goodbye, which IM Global would be fully financing.[2] Brian Kavanaugh Jones would produce the film through his Automatik Entertainment along with IM Global's Greg Shapiro.[2] On July 20, 2017, Zoey Deutch was cast in the film to play one of the students of the professor.[3] The rest of the main cast was announced on July 25, 2017, which included Danny Huston, Rosemarie DeWitt, Devon Terrell, and Odessa Young.[4] It was reported that the film would be co-financed by IM Global and Cirrina Studios, with an additional financing by Leeding Media.[4]

Principal photography on the film began on July 25, 2017 in Vancouver.[5][6]

ReleaseEdit

It had its world premiere at the Zurich Film Festival on October 5, 2018.[7][8] Prior to that, Saban Films and DirecTV Cinema acquired distribution rights to the film.[9] It was released on May 17, 2019.[10]

ReceptionEdit

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 10% rating based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 4.85/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "A muddled story populated with thinly written characters and arranged around a misguided Johnny Depp performance, The Professor fails early and often."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 37 out of 100 based on 12 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Professor". The-Numbers. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Lodderhose, Diana (May 8, 2017). "Johnny Depp To Star In Wayne Roberts' 'Richard Says Goodbye' For IM Global – Cannes". Deadline. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  3. ^ Kroll, Justin (July 20, 2017). "Zoey Deutch to Co-Star With Johnny Depp in 'Richard Says Goodbye' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Lodderhose, Diana (July 25, 2017). "Danny Huston, Rosemarie Dewitt & More Join Johnny Depp In 'Richard Says Goodbye'". Deadline. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Brown, Scott (June 30, 2017). "Johnny Depp to film Richard Says Goodbye in Vancouver". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved July 2, 2017.
  6. ^ "Richard Says Goodbye Starts Filming with Johnny Depp". ComingSoon.net. July 25, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  7. ^ Roxborough, Scott (September 12, 2018). "Johnny Depp's 'Richard Says Goodbye' to World Premiere at Zurich Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  8. ^ "Richard Says Goodbye". Zurich Film Festival. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  9. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (September 10, 2018). "Saban Films, DirecTV Land Johnny Depp-Starrer 'Richard Says Goodbye' For $3 Million: Toronto". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  10. ^ Fernandez, Alexia (April 9, 2019). "Johnny Depp Plays a Man with Just Six Months to Live in First Trailer for The Professor". People. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  11. ^ "The Professor (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Professor". Metacritic. Retrieved June 2, 2019.

External linksEdit