Affinity for jazz or good acting is enough to enjoy this movie even though it suffers from limited character development (perhaps due to runtime). In the end, it makes you wonder what the lesson of the story was and in that sense it is much like life itself.
Explicitly saying what Simmons' purpose in the film is showcases the film's main problem, an inability to be subtle. It lacks subtext, everything is just said out loud instead. It is fairly obvious from the start why Simmons is doing what he is doing, the way he is doing it. I wished there where more nuance to the protagonist, as well. I have a hard time rooting for him. Major kudos for Simmons' performance!
if this is a movie about abuse, then the message is more than questionable: the toxic relationship between Andrew and his teacher culminates in Andrew achieving "greatness" through succumbing to abuse, because "hard work" obviously implies crawling out of a fucking car crash and just getting over yourself. but it's a well-made movie, i guess.