I find "Whiplash" to be a great movie, literally a masterpiece, but here's what I want to ask.

I'm coding and writing articles for a living, and in 95% percents of cases when I see programmers or journalists in movies, especially surprisingly in movies dedicated to programmers or journalists, I see a lot of inconsistencies. Like, you know, journalist does not work that way, programmers can not hack alien software and so on and so on. I guess the same holds true about police movies, spy movies etc, which actually does not mean anything, because authenticity is by no means the main metrics we should measure movies with, but nevertheless:

the question is, does "Whiplash" sound false for professional musicians? Has there been any commentary on the authenticity of the movie in its depiction of professional musicians and their ways of working?

1 Answer 1


Movies like Whiplash aren't striving for an accurate portrayal of life at a conservatory. I'm sure it tries to be accurate, but that's not it's main goal. It's a melodrama.

Even so, some of my friends who are musicians says it gets music wrong. He's not my friend, but critic Richard Brody takes issue with it's depiction of jazz. Here's some of what he has to say:

Here’s what Parker didn’t do in the intervening year: sit alone in his room and work on making his fingers go faster. He played music, thought music, lived music. In “Whiplash,” the young musicians don’t play much music. Andrew isn’t in a band or a combo, doesn’t get together with his fellow-students and jam—not in a park, not in a subway station, not in a café, not even in a basement. He doesn’t study music theory, not alone and not (as Parker did) with his peers. There’s no obsessive comparing of recordings and styles, no sense of a wide-ranging appreciation of jazz history—no Elvin Jones, no Tony Williams, no Max Roach, no Ed Blackwell. In short, the musician’s life is about pure competitive ambition—the concert band and the exposure it provides—and nothing else. The movie has no music in its soul—and, for that matter, it has no music in its images. There are ways of filming music that are themselves musical, that conjure a musical feeling above and beyond what’s on the soundtrack, but Chazelle’s images are nothing of the kind.


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