First-time feature filmmaker Damien Chazelle, 30, adapted what he claims to be his real-life experience in the film "Whiplash" in a riveting way when an ambitious young drummer, portrayed by Miles Teller, enrolls at a top-notch music conservatory to be only emotionally and physically terrified by his instructor, Academy Award-winner J.K. Simmons's character. This emotional roller coaster picture is more than a film. It's a film that has valuable lessons everyone can take and incorporate into their lives.
Here are five life lessons from "Whiplash":
1. Never give up
Teller's character, Andrew Neiman, shows perseverance through what most people would call "unnecessary abuse," made especially worse because it comes from a mentor. Encouragement is not always by your side in life. The tough days at school, work, or home could be very discouraging, and adding the abusive words of your boss -- or, in this case, Neiman's instructor, Fletcher -- could drive someone into a corner and break them down. But that isn't the case with Neiman. His will to be great overpowers the failures and the discouragement. So turn any negative vibes from life into positive energy just like Neiman.
2. Tough love works
Yes, Fletcher was, at times, out of line and to some degree abusive to his students. But would Neiman have been able to accomplish the improvements he made under the instruction of Fletcher? Fletcher's determination to push his students to their full potential with no regard for their feelings pushed Neiman to realize his ability to become a great drummer. This is called tough love, where someone is constantly nudged by another who believes in their ability, but shows it in an uncomfortable way, hence the constant yelling by Fletcher to his students.
3. A "balancer" is needed to be great
Neiman befriends a girl (played by Melissa Benoist) who works at the movie theater he and his dad visit. Eventually, the two become an item. Here's when things take an odd turn; Neiman becomes obsessive about becoming a great drummer to the point where he believes relationships, like the one with his girlfriend, will get in the way of his dreams. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a big ERROR. Sure in the latter I mentioned Fletcher was Neiman's push to become great, but his girlfriend was the "balancer." People need someone to keep them calm, and that was Benoist's character for Neiman. To get straight to the point, don't cut people from your life unless you're sure they don't belong in it.
4. Parents are irreplaceable
This one will be kept short and simple because Simmons said it best during his Best Supporting Actor speech: "If you're lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don't text, don't email; call them on the phone. Tell them you love them." It's so great to see Neiman's father, played by Paul Reiser, stand behind his boy throughout the whole ordeal. This kind of goes back to point three, but you get the point. So call your parents, folks.
5. Follow your dream, no matter what
I think this lesson is probably the most obvious from the film as Neiman constantly grabs his drumsticks to reach his goal of becoming one of the greats. The road is tough as it is with anything in life, but you have to go after it and fight every inch to reach your dream. Neiman didn't stop. Why should you?
Khalid Moalim is a Junior at Ohio State University and a contributor to Moviefone's Campus Beat.