We all have a lesson to learn in life but its perhaps those men who go to A&E with varying implements stuck up their rears who perhaps have the biggest lesson to learn when they claim to have slipped and fallen on the item which might be more persuasive a story if the item that was removed didn’t have a condom on it – but we digress. Here The Lesson has a wider meaning than that when Liam ( Daryl McCormack) a would be novelist and huge fan of acclaimed writer J.M.Sinclair (Richard E Grant) has the opportunity to tutor his son Bertie (Stephen McMillen) for his Oxford university entrance exams. It affords Liam the chance to continue to write his thesis on Sinclair at close quarters where Liam will reside at the huge sprawling mansion that Sinclair’s success has bought him
It’s Sinclair’s wife Helene (Julie Delpy) who has hired him from an agency and Liam is only too willing to sign disclaimers and NDA’s, perhaps a little too eager, because things will soon start to unravel. Sinclair is a pompous arrogant ego of a man and right from the start it’s all on show in a public interview he gives grandly proclaiming that ‘Good writers borrow, great writers steal!’ something that has never been levelled at Dan Brown or Jeffrey Archer but It’s a line that itself has been stolen from Picasso and its becomes pivotal to the film as its slowly unfurls its secrets.
The Lesson plays as something of a four hander chamber piece and the shadow that stretches over the family is the death of their oldest son in a lake in the grounds of their mansion and perhaps Sinclair’s behaviour and attitude is a cover for his grief. But there’s a bubbling tension that often rises to the top as he is dismissive of Helene, belittles his son Bertie and just as badly he treats Liam’s book and literary skills with equal derision in a compelling scene where the two writers exchange notes on each others manuscripts. It’s the moment where the plot really kicks in.
Julie Delpy is coolly aloof but Daryl McCormack continues to impress and Richard E Grant is fascinating as the monstrous egotistical author in a plot that gets darker and darker layer by layer
Here’s The Lesson trailer……