Tony Kaye's Detachment has it's fair share a problems: it's overly melodramatic, it has an annoying score and it wastes several great actors (Bryan Cranston and Blythe Danner, especially) in more-or-less cameo roles, not to mention most of the student characters are one-dimensional stereotypes and the film wallows in the "teachers get no respect" misery. That being said....
Detachment is my favorite film of 2012 as of May 2nd, 2012. Kaye's film is artful and emotionally meaningful, even though most of the characters are emotionally empty "slaves to the man" and Adrien Brody gives his best performance in YEARS as substitute teacher Henry Barthes.
I should also mention the young actress Sami Gayle, who plays a teenage prostitute Henry "rescues". She's quite good in an underwritten role.
Most of the film's storylines don't go where you expect them to go. The only one that was predictable was the Meredith storyline. That being said, Meredith was the only student who felt real (even the "thug kid's" change of heart towards the end feels false)
it's not a perfect movie (what is?) but it's pretty darn good. I certainly enjoyed it more than any other 2012 film I've seen so far!