Film / "O"

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O is a 2001 adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello set in high school. It's better than it sounds.

Odin (Mekhi Phifer) is the only black student at Palmetto Grove and also the star basketball player, with hopes of reaching the NBA. His best friend, Hugo (Josh Hartnett), is jealous of Odin's success and attempts to ruin him by making him believe that his girlfriend Desi (Julia Stiles) is carrying on an affair. It gets worse.


O offers examples of:

  • Adaptation Name Change: Done in such a way that the names are still recognizable if you're familiar with the original play. (Othello is Odin, Iago is Hugo, etc.)
  • Axes at School: Not exactly but close enough that it made people uncomfortable.
  • Book Ends: Hugo's speech about hawks opens and closes the film.
  • Butt-Monkey: Roger is nothing more than Hugo's lackey.
  • The Chessmaster: Hugo as befits an update of Iago.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: As befitting an adaptation of the Ur-example.
  • Downer Ending: Fairly close to the original Shakespeare play as Odin kills Desi then himself. Hugo gets taken into police custody but this is going to make him famous.
  • Driven to Suicide: kills himself after murdering Desi and realizing he was set up by Hugo.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Hugo is addicted to steroids.
  • For the Evulz: Downplayed from the original play in which Iago's motivations were far more ambiguous and shifted often. Here Hugo's jealousy seems more genuine on account of his father paying more attention to Odin.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hugo is made much more sympathetic (though still an obvious bad guy) in this adaptation thanks to his father's extreme preference for Odin over his own son.
  • High School A.U.: To Othello, which got the movie in trouble thanks to Columbine.
  • Jerk Jock: Michael often bullies Roger.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The plan is for Hugo to kill Michael and Odin to kill Desi with the intention of making it look like a murder-suicide between them. The plan goes awry when Hugo's friend Roger shoots Michael in the leg, making it obvious that someone else had shot him.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: All things considered it's a fairly faithful adaptation of the original play. It's a testament to Shakespeare how well it still holds up.
  • Questionable Consent: Desi and Oden's first sexual encounter starts off normally. But when he hallucinates an image of Michael having sex with her in the mirror, out of rage and jealousy, he gets rougher, prompting her to cry out and beg him to stop. He doesn't.
  • Scary Black Man: Odin has this reputation at school and on the basketball court despite not being one. He evolves into one thanks to Hugo's actions.
  • Shout-Out: The Bard himself is referenced early on.
  • Slut-Shaming: Michael invokes this Double Standard by making fun of Brandy the girl he is sleeping with behind her back calling her a slut.
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: Hugo distorts a conversation that he and Michael have to prove to a hidden Odin that Michael and Desi are having sex.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Hugo's father is this, often spending more time with Odin than his own son.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/O