One of my favourite films (although originally a book by Muriel Spark) happens to be the 1969 adaptation of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie a story based around a charismatic, independent spirited teacher at Edinburgh's Marcia Bland private school for girls.While she considers her subject to be history, Miss Brodie (played by Maggie Smith) uses any opportunity give lessons; tales of life to deviate her teaching towards love, lust, passion and fulfilment of the self, especially towards the group of girls (four in the film, six in the book) which become the subject of her infatuation , otherwise known as Brodie's girls.
Nothing comes near to standing in her way, side passing comments from fellow staff of her unconventional teaching manners and personal views as merely being in her prime. Miss Brodie's life and purpose becomes to mould and reproduce her life and her wants through her girls with each expressing and dramatising elements of her own personality, from the dependable Sandy, the pretty Jenny; the girl who will be known for her beauty, Monica the academic of the group and lastly Mary McGregor the orphan soul searching for a place and a meaning to belong.
But her own life and desires tangles up with the reality and life of her girls. Her prime begins to fade and loyal friends can turn as Miss Brodie finds out to her disadvantage.
I love Maggie Smith in this film, to be honest I love her in most, but there's something extra special in this film, maybe it's what all the other characters bring out in her, especially her "girls" all of which perform especially well. While in some element it is of it's era it does make us recognise how much we sometimes try and live our life through others and to who's detriment, their own or ours too?
I'd love to read the book too, although like many the plots, the personalities and the characters I know are said to be a lot different between the two mediums but it's on my amazon wish list all the same.