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Andrew Neiman (Teller) is a young man who has just been accepted into the jazz program at the prestigious Shaffer Conservatory of Music in New York City. Andrew lives and breaths jazz drumming and he hopes to become one of the best, emulating his idol, the late great Buddy Rich. If Andrew is going to fulfill his dream, he must not only practice for hours at a time, but also be willing to submit himself to the tutelage of Mr. Fletcher (Simmons), an instructor who motivates his pupils to be the best through sarcasm, yelling, and the relentless pursuit of perfection.
Whiplash is a coming-of-age story that insists on showing us the world solely through Andrew’s perspective, which is perhaps its most interesting feature. Andrew struggles to find his identity and is capable of pushing away persons who are not on his wavelength, including relatives and romantic interests.