Whiplash: the Story about How to Love a Dream

The movie `Whiplash` of successful director Damien Chazelle showed that from pure love to obsession exists fragile line - fanaticism. The well-known people, whose name are famous for ages proved their genius by the hard price. Mavericks. Hermits. Rigorous and risky. In order to get a success, we should destroy convenient models and go out the common sense. But, if the perfect final doesn`t complete our dream, will we sacrifice our happiness?

In the movie `Whiplash`, director Damien Chazelle (who also directed `La La Land`) confronts Terence Fletcher (Jonathan Kimble Simmons), an orchestra conductor and music teacher at the Sheffield Musicians’ Academy, and Andrew Neyman (Miles Teller), a first–year drummer.



Andrew is an ambitious musician. He dreams about playing in the best orchestra in the USA, and the fact is that Fletcher conducts it. However, to build a good name in music is going to be less than clear, as our protagonist has comes to see. Public humiliation and painful insults are the method, thought to be effective in the individual’s growth to overcoming. Tyrant Terence loves music so much that he idealizes it, true human feelings are a source to spur his perfection.

Meanwhile, we have a wonderful story about how to love a dream and how not to spare ourselves on the way to it. But we take a risk being cruel to ourselves. As result, a dream turns to obsession, what is as much a mental prison as it is a masterpiece of freedom.


The approximation of a dream

Andrew’s father was a school teacher who conditionally brought him up alone. Andrew lives on the Academy campus and plays drums in reserve for the local orchestra. Most of his time he spends practicing. One day Fletcher attends his rehearsal, Andrew starts being obsessed by his acceptance.

We see a profound psychological trick – the appearance of Terence becomes like an approximation of a dream. He comes, gives hope, settling thoughts about sought after possibilities. Thus, once at practice Terance becomes a shadow by the door, listening to the rehearsal. Andrew notices it and begins to do his best, efficiently. Terence rushes into the class at once and tries listening to both drummers: the main player and reserve, eventually choosing Andrew.


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Miles Teller plays Andrew Neiman in the movie “Whiplash”


Meanwhile, Andrew overcomes himself. He is dating a girl who works in the cinema, just at the moment when fate presents him the opportunity to play in the orchestra.  Life is very surprising, and at one moment in the action the whole path begins to change. But Andrew finds himself at a crossroads, between love and career. Even though it is a hard decision, he chooses music. Playing with excellent musicians seems to Andrew to be ideal, especially at the beginning, when it is a dream. Likewise, all his expectations smash up as he sees Fletcher`s relationship with the others. As usual he mocks, drives some out of the class, screams and confuses the young players.


Development is a constant dissatisfaction with your result

Always manipulative, Terence turns out the personal facts of Andrew’s biography, including about his mother. Brings it up in a humiliating public conversation, thinking it will increase the effectiveness of Andrew`s playing. In general, Fletcher’s entire strategy is built on exposing students to take them beyond their usual sensations, through humiliation, to break down existing patterns.

Fletcher confirms the only right way to cross the boundaries of human abilities. Make sure that you lose the feeling of self-contentment. He thinks the secret of development is a constant dissatisfaction with your result. Once, he gives Andrew a chance to taste his dream, at the same time he must always prove his excellence. Andrew gets into a car accident, risks his health, becomes owned by an obsessive goal – to become the main drummer. What is a person able to do if you let him touch a dream and then take it away? He is chasing a mirage to get it, every moment his desire is growing, and a rational assessment of his situation disappears.


Music through the eyes of artists

Meanwhile, the director of “Whiplash” shows us the beautiful world of music behind the scenes, not through the eyes of the audience in beautiful halls, but through the artists. The process of tuning the instruments, cleaning them, preparing for rehearsals, and the conversations between the performances. All the details allow you to understand as much as possible what kind of life the musician has.


From the movie “Whiplash”


Although everyone understands that any skill is above all a matter of hard work, we go to concerts in order to touch the beauty, the aesthetics, and the subtleties of music. And whatever the raw talent maybe doesn`t show all the difficulties that occur behind the scenes. Looking at the difficulties is the main theme of the “Whiplash”, it is phenomenal how a young director could so accurately convey the atmosphere of pressure.

In an interview, Daniel has said that he experienced stress and competition in childhood, so he was close to reporting the issue of violating personal boundaries and humiliation. Anyway, in order to win, whether an athlete, a musician, an actor, an architect, or a physicist, the path forward turns into a battlefield, where you first fight for the right, and then prove what you fought for. Improving your talent requires sacrifice.


On the importance of individual training

And then there is the episode where the hero practices on his own, so intensely that his fingers begin to bleed. The parallel between the real path that youngsters travel and the amount of effort required is shown perfectly. Indeed, in reality, conscious individual lessons are the most effective.


From the movie "Whiplash"
From the movie “Whiplash”


After all, the student knows what areas are needed to become truly skilled. Susan Caine, the author of non-fiction work `Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can`t Stop Talking` writes about Anders Ericsson’s theory of the importance of individual training. In this study, a psychologist conducted a survey among music teachers. At his request, the teachers named three groups of violinists – some of whom will become worldwide famous musicians, some will just be good musicians, and the last group – those who are most likely to be the teachers. So, in the first group, the students commit to 24.3 hours a week or a couple of hours per day while musicians in the third one spend less time practicing. Moreover, if a person is also gifted, he or she gets a quite better result by practicing more than his colleagues. Of course, talent doesn`t determine your finale, but it is important to follow your abilities and gut feelings.

I think that passion, faith, and enhanced practice will help anybody to step closer to his individual genius. Only full involvement can lead to real success. And this is impossible without love, just like many other beautiful things in life!

`Love the life you live. Live the life you love`

Bob Marley


Photos: MovieStillsDB

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