Weekend motivational movie: Whiplash

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Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is an ambitious young jazz drummer, in pursuit of rising to the top of his elite music conservatory. Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), an instructor known for his terrifying teaching methods, discovers Andrew and transfers the aspiring drummer into the top jazz ensemble, forever changing the young man’s


A first-year jazz student at the Shaffer Conservatory in New York [said to be the best in the US, a fiction again] Andrew Neiman is a brilliant drummer. He has been playing the skins since he was a small kid and adores the technique of greats like Buddy Rich. Terrence Fletcher is a jazz conductor who is more of a teacher with a uniquely brutal method of ‘teaching’. He gives his core drummer a break and asks Andrew to sit in on the drum stool after he hears Andrew play one day. However, Andrew’s excitement at playing as part of the core band is quickly cut short when Fletcher hurls a chair at Andrew from across the room during a take of Whiplash, a Hank Levy jazz composition. Fletcher then proceeds to humiliate Andrew for, not keeping his tempo, slapping his face on both sides, and asking him if he too slow a player or too fast.

Not to be outdone, Andrew is undaunted and goes back to the practice room to keep at it till his hands bleed. When not practicing, he goes to movies with his dad, for whom Andrew is the most important person in the world. At that same movie theater, he meets Nicole (Benoit) who handles the food stall at the cinema. After a good day of the practice session, he gathers up the courage to ask Nicole out and she accepts. they go out for pizza and coke and the two hit it off. Before this, Andrew had managed to impress Fletcher in a big way by performing Whiplash from memory after misplacing the core drummer Carl’s (Lang) sheet music. But when Andrew’s hopes get high, Fletcher replaces him with his former class member Ryan (Austin Stowell). Andrew, in his dedication to drumming, will break up with Nicole later on.

One day during practice, Fletcher takes a call and is seen as dejected after that. We learn that a fantastic former student of his, Sean Casey, has died in a car accident. They start rehearsing another composition called Caravan. Ryan fails with the tempo and Fletcher asks Andrew to sit in. He too gets the tempo wrong. Carl is then asked to sit in, with the same result. The entire class is asked to keep practicing till they get the song right. It is not until 2 am that they stagger out of the studio, exhausted.
Fletcher tells them to get ready for a jazz competition out of town the very next day and not to be late for it. After Andrew’s bus breaks down, he rents a car and arrives late, forgetting his drumsticks in the car rental showroom. He rushes back after a confrontation with Fletcher and retrieves the drumsticks. But in his rush to drive back, his car is hit by a truck on the driver’s side. Bleeding and battered, torn and frayed, he crawls from the wreckage and arrives on stage badly injured. Unable to play and dropping his drumsticks, Fletcher tells him he is out of the band.

Enraged, Andrew kicks away the bass drums and lunges for Fletcher in front of the audience, taking him down and repeatedly screaming at Fletcher “I’ll kill you!”

Not surprisingly, Andrew is expelled from Shaffer. He loses interest in drumming and takes another job. A lawyer representing the parents of the deceased Sean Casey explains to Andrew and his dad that Sean hanged himself and was not killed in a car crash, as Fletcher had lied to the students about earlier. Casey suffered anxiety and depression after joining Fletcher’s class. Casey’s parents, the lawyer explained, were too poor to pursue charges, but she said that if Andrew agrees to testify, Fletcher will never teach again. He agrees and, as a result, Fletcher is fired.

Sometime later, Andrew happens to see Fletcher performing at a jazz club. Fletcher asks Andrew to have a drink with him and Fletcher explains why he pushes his students too much – that it would be a “crime” to deprive the world of the next Charlie Parker, who was also pushed the same way. When Parker made a mistake on stage, a cymbal was flung at him. Instead of being discouraged, Parker played the solo of his life on the saxophone the next day, which made him who he was.
At the end of the evening, he invites Andrew to perform at a festival concert with his band. Andrew agrees after a bit and telephones Nicole, apologizing to her and asking her to come. She tells him she has a new boyfriend and turns him down.
Before the show, Fletcher tells the band that the audience at Carnegie Hall [where they are playing the JVC festival] consists of music bigwigs who can make or break their careers, depending on how they play so they should be flawless. When Andrew takes his seat at the drums, Fletcher tells him that he knows that Andrew had testified. In revenge, Fletcher leads the band in a new piece called Upswinging that Andrew was not given sheet music for. Andrew has no chance in hell of playing along and realization dawns on him that this was Fletcher’s revenge – to screw up Andrew’s career as well. Andrew leaves the stage humiliated and gets a hug from his dad. But he then returns, takes the chair, and crashes into a flawless version of Caravan, insultingly interrupting Fletcher mid-speech. The band joins in and Fletcher has no option but to follow suit. Andrew finishes off with a mind-blowing drum solo and it is this performance that earns Fletcher’s nod of approval. Andrew has now ‘arrived’.


It teaches you about motivation if you really want to be something or want to achieve something in your life to give your sweet and blood in it. This movie is not actually about drumming and not even a mentor student relationship; just two different people and their commitment to achieve the best results by going to any extend. Brilliant but very intense drama about passion and perfection – Mature audiences only! This movie tells the story behind to achieve success through suffering.


3.5 / 5

Here is the trailer of Whiplash.

Here is the link to stream Whiplash.

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