Submission Review – Engaging, Captures The Intensity of The Gen X Pursuit

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Submission, from Mighty Engine and Great Point Media, presents the story of angst, desire and hope as the world of two writers collide at a small northeastern college, where life is routine, dull, mundane and full of stoic academics.

Directed and written by Richard Levine, Submission stars Stanley Tucci, Kyra Sedgwick, Janeane Garofalo, Addison Timlin, Ritchie Coster, Colby Minifie, Alison Bartlett, Nancy Ellen Shore and David Pittu. Submission is based on the novel of the same name written by Francine Prose.

Submission opens with the camera panning across a university campus, the wide yards with well-marked cement pathway leading from building to building, a attractive micro community, surrounded by the parameter of healthy living greenery and at this time, golden colors of fall’s foliage.

As the camera narrows we hear the voices of students debating the merits of literary works which is where we meet Ted Swenson, played by Stanley Tucci, who in voice over explains his last ten years have been spent at this picturesque college campus, as his first book a moderately successful autobiographical account, landed him tenure, at a mediocre small college, a safety net for the academically challenged and as he says the faculty isn’t much better.


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As the camera narrows even further we enter the writers reading group with six students led by Professor Swenson. The students take on the usual persona, the slacker, the hopeful, grunge chic, answer man and hidden brilliance.

On this day, the routine is the same, Ted heads out challenging our mediocre minds to voraciously read the next assignment, prepare solid argument and debate. Each week the group reads a fellow students story and critique the writer with solid constructive criticism generally and acceptably used to aid the writer in attempts to better the prose.

Inevitably, with a published author as renown as Professor Swenson, there is always one student who has the hope of becoming the next Earnest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Toni Morrison, Gertrude Stein or J.K. Rowling. And today it is Angela Argo, played by Addison Timlin, who coyly, with the hesitancy of approaching deity, asks if he would be interested in reading a short story she has been working on.

Lunch with Professor Moynahan, played by Janeane Garofalo, brings the talk to this year’s crop of standouts, hopefuls and others which brings up Angela. Moynahan explains her unusual attempts to get her even more bizarre work published so much so that she donated a book of self-published book of poetry to the library.

Armed with this new information, Swenson heads to the library and checks out the poetry. Soon he is absorbed in her attempts to cross Anais Nin with a life yet lived. The results were intriguing enough to create a background and insight into the unusual Angela Argo.

After a day in the life of the most noted Academic, Swenson returns home which is where we meet Sherrie Swenson, played by Kyra Sedgwick.

What follows is a slow fall down a slippery slope as one compromise leads to another, until an unprepared Swenson, lulled into inertia due mainly to his loathing of his comfortable yet unfulfilling life, finds himself at the point of no return.

I really enjoyed Submission. Although I must say I was somewhat shocked at the ending I wasn’t surprised as the film parallels the nuances of higher education and genuine possibilities as opposed to fictional endings.

Submission captures the modern day angst of young unpublished writers who actually have the chops to create and sustain the market reach. The publishing world is insanely competitive, I suppose any creative pursuit has the same hoops, and those willing to take short cuts, if possible, to by-pass the years of rejection letters, secondary employment, and self-doubt, do.


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The casting was perfect as Submission revolves around six students, a group of professors and family members, each of these groups work well and give genuine, convincing performances. The up and coming actors, unknown even by face, really stood out.

Addison Timlin, who plays Angela Argo, gave a note-worthy performance with layers and colors as she manipulates, wrangles, presents millennial rage, helplessness, seduction, risking all and destroying all for her chance.

See the film during the recent Los Angeles Film Festival, I chose Submission as Stanley Tucci and Kyra Sedgwick who play the leads can always be counted on to deliver a solid performances. I knew the film would be at minimum good and possibly better or a sleeper hit. And I can say I made the right choice.

Stanley Tucci did deliver. He embodied his role as the nearly lost and blindsided to the roads the young crop of post Utopian craftsmen would follow to secure a slice of the dream.

It’s not like they invented the rules that we made, they have however put a unique spin on them and we see ethical boundaries are non-existent, which is a surprise at such a young age they have every tactic and manipulation fine-tuned.

Submission was screened at the 2017 Los Angeles Film Festival and has yet to receive a formal theatrical opening date. Where ever Submission lands, either theatrical release or any one of the streaming platforms, it is well worth the time. See this film. 

Image: Press photo