Admission

Directed by Paul Weitz and starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd Admission is a 2013 film that is an adaptation of a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, also called Admission. Michael Sheen, Lily Tomlin, Gloria Reuben & Sonya Walger.

Fey plays Princeton University admissions officer Portia Nathan, a straight-laced and no-nonsense woman who lives a rather predictable and dull boring life. She rarely visits her mother Susannah and has been in a 10 year relationship with her professor boyfriend Mark (Sheen). Asked by the persistent John Pressman, an ex-Dartmouth collegemate (although they didn’t know each other while at school) and who now runs an alternative high school called Quest, she arranges to make a trip to see & interact with the seniors at the program. With vast experience in the coaching, consoling, and criticism involving Princeton’s admission, she pays a visit to the Quest School, where John teaches while raising an adopted son, Uganda born Nelson. After exposing Portia to outspoken Quest students’ impressions of college, he takes her to meet the rather unconventional Jeremiah Balakian, a child prodigy.

John, who really cares for the teenager, tells Portia that he thinks Jeremiah is her son. Portia had a secret pregnancy when she was in college, and having being dumped by her boyfriend, she took some time off to deliver the baby, a boy. Having lied to her mother about spending a year in the Netherlands, she gave the baby up for adoption. John shows proof in the form of the agency’s papers that Jeremiah is her son. After an awkward romantic attraction to Pressman, she arranges for Jeremiah to visit Princeton, where she and a colleague, Corinne, are rivals to succeed the soon-to-retire dean of admissions. Later at a party she finds out that her boyfriend has impregnated a “Virginia Woolf scholar” named Helen and he breaks up with her. Although he is brilliant, Jeremiah’s miserable transcript results in his being deemed unfit to attend the university. Portia, in an act that greatly endangers her position, schemes to gain Jeremiah entrance into the school, knowing that Princeton cannot reveal such a scandal. Her resignation is demanded. Later, when revealing to Jeremiah that she is his biological mother, she finds out that there was a mistake in his birth certificate and the boy has already located his actual biological mother. Portia appears at the adoption agency, trying to locate her son, where she describes her life with a different perspective. When asked how would she feel to meet her actual child, she replies that she would feel “nervous, but lucky.” In the end, now dating Pressman, she receives a letter about her son, which says he is not ready to meet her. Pressman points out to her that she is on the wait list, which isn’t so bad.

A different kind of humour based film, with no big moments of laughter or slapstick comedy. The funniest moments are when Portia, feeling a bit motherly for the first time in her life, tries to hold a stranger’s baby much to the horror of the mother. Also Lily Tomlin as Portia’s own mother, who was a free spirited and non-tradition like, who ignites some passion in a Russian born professor at Princeton and the two begin an affair. John’s adopted son, Nelson, also has his moments to shine in the film and is shown as being bright & precocious and even is the first one to take a shine to Portia. Overall good enough for a lazy Sunday afternoon. 7.5 outta 10 for me!

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