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critics consensus

Though well-intentioned and serious in its exploration of teen violence, O is an uneven experiment that doesn't quite succeed. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Moving the classic tale of "Othello" onto the basketball courts of a high school, the story focuses on a young black man named Odin (Mekhi Phifer) who is convinced by a conniving best friend, Hugo (Josh Hartnett) that his girlfriend (Julia Stiles) is cheating on him. Of course, what Odin doesn't know is that Hugo is in fact motivated by his own jealousy of Odin's good fortune. It's a sticky situation in classic Shakespearean tradition.

Cast & Crew

Mekhi Phifer
Odin James
Josh Hartnett
Hugo Goulding
Julia Stiles
Desi Brable
Andrew Keegan
Michael Cassio
John Heard
Dean Brable
Martin Sheen
Coach Duke Goulding
Chris Freihofer
Assistant Coach
Chris Dong
Dutchman Player
Brad Kaaya
Writer (Screenplay)
Betsy Danbury
Line Producer
Zack Estrin
Associate Producer
Brad Kaaya
Associate Producer
Michael I. Levy
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for O

Critic Reviews for O

All Critics (125) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (80) | Rotten (45)

  • This arty melodrama is not likely to make teenage America get down with Shakespeare.

    March 31, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    March 25, 2008
  • Hartnett never allows him to become a hissable villain, keeping Hugo shy of our sympathies, yet his every move is utterly believable.

    December 30, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Credit, none the less, to the film-makers' game, unpatronising approach, and to Phifer and Stiles as compelling innocents.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • An intriguing experiment on paper, but a throwaway onscreen.

    March 10, 2003 | Rating: 1.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Perhaps overaware of its solemn literary inheritance, it tiptoes around sex and race, and, in turning Shakespeare's grown-ups into Dawson's Creek teens, jettisons much of the original's grandeur.

    October 2, 2002 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for O

  • Jul 10, 2012
    AMAZING!!!!! One of my all time favourites. Highly Recommended !!
    Shawn M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 05, 2011
    The film takes place in an elite private school where Mehki Phifer portrays Odin James, the only African American student at the school and star basketball player who has everything going for him including the dean's (played by John Heard) daughter as his girlfriend, Desi (Julia Stiles) until his 'friend' Josh Hartnett (an absolutely chilling Hugo) is overcome with envy and fuelled by jealousy because his basketball coach father (Martin Sheen) seems to pay more attention to Odin than Hugo. He resents being ignored and begins to plot what to do to get back at Odin devoting his time and energy into destroying him. The theme of revenge, love and jealousy remains intact but the settings have been changed to fit the 21st century better. O explores the origins of school violence and how teen angst can lead to tragedy. Be ready for a gut wrenching finale.
    Deb S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 15, 2009
    Nothing comes between two people's love, like one person's jealously.
    Wahida K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 18, 2009
    Actually a really great translation that didn't make a mockery of Shakespeare's work. Josh Harnett played a great Iago. It's interesting that this left more of a lasting impression on me that reading the play. Seeing all these things happen (especially when making the characters younger) really allows you to see the true sense of the meaning tragedy.
    Conner R Super Reviewer

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