Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is an ambitious and arrogant 15-year-old at Rushmore Academy, a private school. A wiz at extracurricular activities, he is the head of a slew of clubs, groups, and organizations on campus. In fact, Max is so busy with these activities that his grades are suffering. Dr. Guggenheim (Brian Cox), the headmaster, has given him a warning: "Bring up your grades or you'll be expelled."

Max's obsession with Miss Cross (Olivia Williams), a beautiful English widow who teaches at the school, is the straw that breaks the camel's back. Using some money given to him by Mr. Blume (Bill Murray), a tycoon with twin sons at Rushmore, he tries to build an aquarium on the academy's baseball diamond as a tribute to his love. Max is expelled and forced to enter a run-down, public school. After a depression, he starts production on a new play he's written about Vietnam.

Wes Anderson directs this quirky comedy based on a screenplay cowritten with Owen Wilson. It offers an endearing look at the humbling of an intelligent and creative individual who's convinced of his superiority over others. We are all here to grow in wisdom and to learn to love. Max does both by losing as well as winning. In the end, Max proves himself to be a good student of life — willing to start over again and again.