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Andrew (Miles Teller) is a gifted jazz drummer who practises day and night to be among the best in the conservatory he attends in Manhattan. The last thing he will do is end up among the mediocre like his father and his career as a writer. When the charismatic lecturer Terrence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) asks him to join his ensemble, the 19-year old's dream appears to be heading for fulfillment. But Fletcher turns out to be a ruthless despot, who demands everything from his pupils. Soon, Andrew reaches the limits of his ability -- and his health. The drama shines thanks to its two superb leading actors and makes jazz a highly visual experience.