An Invisible Sign [Blu-ray]
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Jessica Alba delivers a most unexpected performance as Mona Gray, a quirky young woman who hides in a private world of numbers when her beloved mathematician father falls ill. But when Mona is offered a job as an elementary school math teacher, she ll introduce the students to her own eccentric gift for numerical obsession. Can the joys of arithmetic multiplied by a shy romance with the school science teacher (Chris Messina of Julie & Julia) help Mona discover a new life she can count on? J.K. Simmons (Juno), Sonia Braga (Sex and the City), Bailee Madison (Wizards of Waverly Place) and John Shea (Gossip Girl) co-star in this offbeat and heartwarming comedy/drama about second chances, emotional equations and calculating the power of love.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The charm of this story is that all the main characters, both adults & children, have odd little habits but are likeable folks. Each is coping with personal or family tragedies -- yet there is very little violence, instead, several become neurotic, eccentric loners as a result. Jessica Alba , Chris Messina, & J K Simmons do solid jobs in creating the off-beat personalities in the film. If you like eccentric but kind-hearted schoolteachers, you're probably enjoy 'An Invisible Sign'.
Mona (Jessica Alba) is an emotionally troubled young woman. Her father appears to be schizophrenic. It's likely that Mona has inherited his mental disease (whatever that is) and will worsen with time.
Mona gets a job teaching math, though her mother lied about Mona having a college degree. Then a science teacher courts Mona, but she can't connect with him (or anyone). After he kisses her, she runs away and eats soap. She drives him away. Mona also brings an ax into class, because it's shaped like the number 7.
Near the film's end, there's a classroom fight. Two of Mona's (also emotionally troubled) girl students fight over the ax (while the boys fight over a prosthetic limb). One of the girls just lost her mother to cancer. The other girl's parents are going through a messy divorce. In the aftermath, one girl's forehead is bloodied against a glass pane. The other girl (carrying the ax) slips on urine, with the ax embedding itself into Mona's leg.
Mona is fired by the school.
Up until now, the film was filled with moments of poignancy and honest emotion -- but then in the FINAL 5 MINUTES -- after Mona's firing -- everything turns around for her with sudden ease.
* Mona is suddenly able to love the science teacher.
* Mona adopts the student who lost her mother to cancer.
* Mona's attorney threatens to sue the school, resulting in Mona getting her teaching job back.
This fake, SAPPY Hollywood ending ruins an otherwise courageous indie film.
The lawsuit is especially FAKE. Mona's attorney says that Mona has an excellent case against the school (for wrongful termination, one presumes).
ON WHAT PLANET?
* Mona has NO college degree. Her mother LIED to the school district about her qualifications, and Mona supported that lie. She is legally unqualified to teach. It wouldn't matter if she now promises to go to night school to get her degree, they can still fire her.
* One student was INJURED under Mona's supervision -- and others were endangered all because Mona brought an AX to class! Mona is lucky she isn't sued by the student's guardian. The guardian certainly has an excellent lawsuit against the school district.
* On top of which, Mona is still in her first year of teaching. She'd be under probation, without tenure. It'd be EASY to fire her, for a lot less.
The filmmakers should have kept the film real, honest, and authentic. Mona should not have had such an artificially happy turnaround on all fronts -- gets the guy, adopts the kid, gets her job back despite having NO case whatsoever against the school district.
I loved this film until the last 5 minutes, but the dishonest ending left a bad taste in my mouth.
Anyway the storyline is about Jessica Alba getting the opportunity to be a teacher (thanks to her rude and uncaring mother) to a bunch of kids who have a serious problem sitting still and behaving. Yeah, like ALL kids! What's interesting is that she already *knew* she wasn't cut out for the job which is why she initially didn't want to accept it, so it doesn't exactly come as a shock when she discovers the kids are hard to tolerate and keep under control.
Well, that's how the storyline *starts*. From there it just turns into a weird mess. Let's see. She's obsessed with numbers, and the movie writers tried to wrap a storyline around her fascination with numbers (including her neighbor who's an old man that taught her this particular obsession) but... there's more to it than that. At least I think so. The entire numbers concept seemed boring to me and unnecessary anyway.
She develops a special friendship with one of her students because the little girls mom is dying of... eye cancer. Yeah, seriously. Of course you can probably guess what's going to happen at the end of the movie because the build-up is nothing particularly *different* concerning the tired and old "parent dies, what happens to child?" storylines. You've seen this same set up a thousand times in other movies, and it isn't executed any differently here. Still, just in case it's not obvious enough, I won't come right out and SAY what happens.
The best part for me is around 70 minutes in, when *something* happens in the classroom. This is actually a REALLY shocking series of unfortunate events that takes place, and it happens suddenly so do NOT miss this segment! I was almost certain that what takes place was even WORSE thanks to the slow motion effect, until we discover what really happens. Yikes!
Anyway yeah, besides falling in love with a guy who works at the school (well, reluctantly falls in love with- you'll see what I mean) I really like how shy and timid Jessica Alba's character is. It's VERY different from the kind of open and boisterous things we've seen her star in before. I liked it.
The one aspect of An Invisible Sign that seems hard to really understand is Jessica's father who had something happen to him and he never recovered, so he spends his days with his head in the clouds so to speak. His lost his mind somewhere along the line. Never really understood what happened to him, even though it tried to be explained in the beginning. Strange.
Overall, no, this isn't a romantic comedy at all. It's more than that. I recommend it.
I can't say if I would have thought the movie was better if I would've known that going in, but I doubt it since I consider it one of the worst movies I've ever had to pay for.
So if you were expecting a cute, romantic story like myself, Stay Away from this movie!