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Still Learning: “The Lesson” reviewed

The Lesson, directed by Alice Troughton from a script by Alex MacKeith, aspires to be high-toned but only gets to the peak of a cliché slag heap. The ostensible protagonist is Daryl McCormack’s Liam, first seen being interviewed himself, speaking of his first novel, about a ruined patriarch trying to reassert power over his fraying realm. In a flashback, the unpublished Liam is summoned by “The Agency” (not the C.I.A.) to audition for a tutoring gig. Bertie, the son of literary lion Sinclair and his French wife Hélène (Julie Delpy), needs a leg up to get into Oxford. Young and pale and poor of attitude, Bertie (Stephen McMillan) resists Liam’s friendly suggestions about learning critical thinking and insults the guy at family dinners. Nevertheless, Liam gets the gig, moves into the family’s palatial manor (this is a world in which literary mandarin status still pays big), and starts putting Post-It notes on his mirror; observations on the family that he hopes will feed a literary work of his own.