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A modernized retelling of William Shakespeare's Othello, O changes its setting to an elite private school in the American South. Odin (Mekhi Phifer) is the only black student at Palmetto Grove and also the star basketball player, with hopes of reaching the NBA. A popular student, he is dating Desi Brable (Julia Stiles), the daughter of the school's dean (John Heard), and they are deeply devoted to each other despite their different backgrounds. His best friend Hugo (Josh Hartnett) is a starter on the basketball team, and the son of the hard-driving coach Duke Goulding (Martin Sheen),… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 64%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This arty melodrama is not likely to make teenage America get down with Shakespeare."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"In the end, the Shakespearean ideas collapse on film because of the youthful callowness of the characters."
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"The presence of old lags Martin Sheen and John Heard just beggars belief. What were they thinking?"
‑ Richard Luck, Film4
"Hartnett never allows him to become a hissable villain, keeping Hugo shy of our sympathies, yet his every move is utterly believable."
‑ Alan Morrison, Empire Magazine
"A well crafted and thoughtful film."
‑ Ross Williams, Film Threat
"This transferral of the tragedy of the Moor to a contempo American high school is something that never should have gone further than a class assignment to see if it could be made to work."
‑ Todd McCarthy, Variety
"On your already groaning Shakespeare for Teens video shelf, stack this one above 10 Things I Hate About You ... and quite a bit below Romeo + Juliet."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"It's highly enjoyable and well acted, with the Iago figure better motivated than in the original play, no single line of which has been retained except for the odd echo."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Long on the Shelf, O is well directed and decently acted, but its narrative, while more or less faithful to Shakespeare, tried to do too much, pushing the characters and their emotions to unreasonable and unconvincing extremes."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"There's an air of authenticity to the proceedings here, and stylistic pretension never obscures good storytelling."
‑ Ian Waldron-Mantgani, Apollo Guide
"Credit, none the less, to the film-makers' game, unpatronising approach, and to Phifer and Stiles as compelling innocents."
‑ , Time Out
"It's a doomy dirge of a movie, in which the protagonists, or at least the actors who play them, aren't equipped to handle their outsize passions."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine
"Helmer Nelson has fashioned a clever premise, helped along by a smart ensemble that manages to highlight Shakespeare's work without parodying it--no small accomplishment."
‑ Ed Kelleher, Film Journal International
"Leave it to Hollywood to make a bold, challenging film for teens (and adults) only to let it collect dust on a shelf as proposed release dates were set, then scratched, many times over."
‑ Michael Dequina, Film Threat
"Let the film stand on its own and not amiss controversy."
‑ Wilson Morales, BlackFilm.com
More reviews for O on Rotten Tomatoes

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