January 24, 2022

ShowbuzzDaily Sundance 2022 Review: “My Old School”


MY OLD SCHOOL (no distrib):  Although the story is apparently well-known in the UK, here the twisty tale that Jono McLeod unfurls in his documentary would constitute a spoiler, so we’ll leave things vague here.  This much is fair:  in the early 1990s, a 16-year old student named Brandon Lee arrived at a Glasgow area secondary school, saying that he was the globe-trotting son of an opera singer, and impressing fellow students and faculty alike with his knowledge and aplomb.  Within a year, they all realized how little they really knew about him, and the truth was national news.  It’s a pretty good yarn, and McLeod has chosen some clever ways to tell it.  The visuals alternate between photographed talking heads and animated restagings of the events that occurred (the animation is properly enough in Darla-era style), while Alan Cummings, who was once attached to star in a scripted movie version of Lee’s tale, lip-synchs the audio-only interview done in the present-day by the camera-shy protagonist.  At its best, My Old School has some insightful things to say about aging, memory and subjective truth, and even when it’s just spinning out the events that ensued, it’s always diverting and fun to watch.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."