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on December 8, 2015
I have always been someone who likes watching something more than reading it. The movie O was not much different from Othello, but it was adapted into a more understandable scenario. The main thing that makes Shakespeare so hard to read, is his use of language. Watching a movie makes things a lot easier to understand, especially when it is set in the 2000s. I liked the seriousness in the text of Othello and it made the severity of the play more extreme. I think the movie O lacked that. Since the movie was set in such a relatable way, with high school students, the movie was easier for me to understand. On the other hand, I think the fact that it was written with such a modernistic approach, made it lose some of the drama of the written play. When Oden is playing in the basketball game and “loses it”, I thought that it was harder to understand why he was acting the way he was in the movie. I also did not think that the relationship between Hugo and his dad mirrored the relationship between Iago and Barbantio in this movie. I think in the text, Iago seemed more jealous and more wanting of Barbantio’s affection, than in the relationship between Hugo and his dad in the movie. The coaches power was lacking and I felt he did not have as much authority in the movie, as his equivalent does in the play. Another thing to mention, is that the racial tension in the play is much more prominent than in the movie. Maybe they had to leave out a lot of the racial comments in the movie for obvious reasons, but I definitely thought that the racial tension was not as strong as it is in the play and it should be highlighted because this is a huge reason of why Othello acts the way he does. Oden, portraying Othello in the movie, is seen as way more popular than Othello is in the play. Oden is seen as the “cool kid” and liked by all of his peers. Othello is seen as more of an outcast in the play, and is rarely seen as a “cool” character. Overall, I do like watching movie interpretations, but it sometimes confuses me on which things are from the movie, and which things are from the original text. I am a visual learner, so I understand things better when I watch a movie or video about the topic, rather than just reading the text. I would say that ultimately I choose watching the movie interpretation, over reading the text, especially with Shakespeare. One must be careful though when choosing a movie to watch, because sometimes the movie’s interpretation can lead the reader astray from what is actually happening in the original text. I did not get too confused with the difference between O and Othello and I think that was largely due to the setting of the movie, versus the play. I would recommend reading the original text and watching the movie adaptation, because I did get a better understanding of what was being told in the text, but do not let yourself blend the two plots together, because they are usually not the exact same.
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on May 6, 2013
This movie is intense. It is gripping. I was coming out of my chair in the ending. But the ending is why I gave it 3 stars because I didn't feel like there was enough explanation of why this kid started all the drama. I honestly was so into the movie that when it ended I was baffled about what just happened.
If you like movies about high school kids and the drama they cause and choices they make, perhaps give it a view. I liked it but could only give 3 stars because the main character made extreme choices with very little evidence for why these choices were made. You be the judge.
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on June 25, 2007
I thought about teaching it as a modern interpretation of Othello, but there's this long, uncomfortable, sex scene that turns into a borderline rape scene in the middle of it. I'm sure some think it's profound, but frankly, it's pretty heavy handed. I'm teaching at the college level so *can* show it, but it's uncomfortable enough that I don't. Well performed, but aside from that, it relies on and perpetuates stereotypes of black sexuality, violence, drug use, etc. much more than the original without anywhere near the character development that makes the original interesting. From a pedagogical standpoint, I can use it as an excuse for a discussion on constructions of minoritized identity, which is fine and dandy, but then it's not doing its job as a companion piece for Othello to help them deepen their knowledge, except in the most superficial ways. If I wanted to do that, I could assign the old black-face Orson Wells version. As well, I'd rather just assign some James Baldwin if I wanted to discuss constructions of minoritized identity.

As a film, it's a good way to waste an evening. I'd suggest renting it, though I did buy it because I'm also a Mekhi Phifer fan. His acting in the role is much better than the material he is given.
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on January 24, 2016
I enjoyed this retelling of the play, mostly because it made the reality that Othello was the only black man in a sea of white people more clear. The metaphor about the black hawk flying above all the white birds is used throughout the film in a very Shakespearean sense. Although we're not reading the play for the Black Shakespeare class that I'm in, I think talking about Othello/Odin's isolation, a connection made between the film and the play, would've led to an excellent discussion. I am excited to see more Shakespeare adaptations in the future.
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on October 22, 2015
A VERY young cast of Meki Phifer, Josh Hartnett and Julia Stiles. A very modern take on Othello. Based in a privileged college atmosphere and focused on the overly talented basketball player Odin (Phifer) and a very jealous Hugo (Hartnett) the son of the basketball coach who ignores him and prefers the star Odin who is also involved with Desi (Stiles) the Dean's daugther. It is a fair adaptation of Othello and a great delivery by Hartnet as the modern Iago. Still - not the depth of the play.
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on May 7, 2017
Excellent movie to teach Othello in senior English classes. My kids were totally sucked in by the modern story and Skakespeare's dramatic irony.
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on August 25, 2013
I LOVE Othello. I love Shakespeare. This movie is PERFECT for teaching kids who just don't "get" the Bard in his own language. It places the action in a modern-day prep school where Othello is O--the star basketball player, Iago is the guy right under him, and Des is the beautiful but sensitive girl who every guy wants to get with for himself. A perfect companion movie to the original text! Must have for teachers! (Just beware of the sex scene--it doesn't show anything, really, but still.)
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on June 7, 2002
This movie puts a wonderful spin on the Shakespeare play Othello.
Mekhi Phifer stars as Odin,(Othello)a minority in a private school who is the star basketball player and the coach's pride and joy. This upsets the coach's son, Hugo, Josh Hartnett(Iago) and drives him to do things based on his jealous nature. Odin's in love with the beautiful Desi,Julia Stiles(Desdemona)but like all of Shakespeare's plays their romance is brought to a deadly hault. Josh Hartnett is so sinister as Hugo. I ended up hating him in the movie eventhough I love him as an actor. In the end you feel sorry for the turmoil that Hugo brings into their lives and it makes you wish Shakespeare would have lightened up. But then it wouldnt have been Shakespeare.
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on January 14, 2018
I was very satisfied with my order, Thank you very much
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on May 19, 2016
This movie was a really cool modern version of Shakespeare but there were just some moments that I felt weren't realistic..for example the school..it just didn't seem like a realistic boarding school
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