The Water Is Wide (2006)

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The Water Is Wide (2006)
Opis: Jeff Hephner stars as a young Pat Conroy, an idealistic young teacher who, having failed to trade his military academy education for a spot in the 1969 Peace Corps, finds a first teaching position on an isolated Sea Island off Charleston, South Carolina.Yamacraw Island (actually Daufuskie Island, now a wealthy resort location with almost no original inhabitants remaining) is an impoverished, almost all African-American spot on the Atlantic Coast with a two-room schoolhouse housing grades 1-8. The only whites on the island control the store, the library (only opened if someone wants a specific book), the post office, and the ferry to the mainland. The Blacks are subsistence farmers. Now that the local school has been merged into the larger county school district, the superintendent (Frank Langella) is attempting to provide a very unspecified "better education" for the island's children, although he seems more impressed with Conroy's school and parental knowledge of the rigidness of the "chain of command."The young Conroy finds the island school a disaster. His "principal," Mrs. Brown (Alfre Woodard), uses tough love (beatings and verbal humiliation) to teach her students "manners" but little else. The students in grades 5-8 cannot read or write, do not know which nation they live in, and have no idea of what the ocean which surrounds them is called. They know no mathematics. They do not even have any grasp of their own history.Struggling against Mrs. Brown, Assistant Superintendent Bennington (James Murtaugh), the local whites, and the Superintendent's chain of command, Conroy brings the students to life, showing them films (which they have never seen), reading them stories, connecting them to maps, and listening to the life stories of the kids. He even manages a field trip off the island, a first for almost every child.In response the children begin to flourish, moving ahead dramatically both academically and personally, and Conroy seems to find a real mission in life.But, 1969 being much like today, the powers that be have no real interest in these poor children receiving an actual education, rather, they much prefer Mrs. Brown's stability and lessons in compliance. In the end, Conroy is not asked to return to Yamacraw for a second year, and moves on to marriage on the mainland, and other jobs, and eventually, his career as an author.
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