Politicians and pundits never tire of discussing the shortcomings of America’s public-education system, as teachers are either held up as saints or denigrated for being out of touch and protected by a union less interested in students than in saving their own from unemployment. Tony Kaye’s Detachment
attempts to burn through this rhetoric with an engaging portrait of a flawed man whose job is to reach the students the system is failing.
The movie stars Adrien Brody as Henry Barthes, a substitute English teacher who takes a monthlong assignment at the worst high school in his district. Troubled kids are funneled to the building, parents are nowhere to be...