Very slow moving and puzzling look at how adolescents deal with the grief they experience due to the suicide of their teacher. Their replacement teacher, Mr. Lazhar, is a puzzle in that we are not told enough about his background to enable us to relate to his condition or circumstances. Further, his ability to understand and respond to the emotional and psychological needs of the students seems inadequate. He is a weak character who allows himself to be "pushed" around by the other teachers and the principal.
In sum, the film tackles an important and difficult subject, but does so with only minimal success. Only the final few scenes begin to address the real emotions the students experience. The viewer leaves feeling as though many of their feelings were never communicated or addressed.
Cons good subject; inadequately addressed
No, I do not recommend this movie.
0of0voted this as helpful.
Review 2 for (Unknown)
An Honest Look at Grief
PostedMay 6, 2012
from West Seattle, Seattle, WA, USA
Age:65 or over
Goes to the movies:few times per year
There were no false notes in this movie. From the depths of their separate grief, a devastated Algerian refugee, mourning the loss of his own family, shepherds a classroom of fifth-graders through the winter and into the spring. Amazingly, this is not a dark and depressing movie, but a thoughtful and sweet one. This is a movie about the redemptive power of kindness.
Pros well paced, great story, great actors, honest, sweet, full of love
Monsieur Lazhar is a totally engaging story from start to finish and the cinematography has a truly beautiful look to it, throughout.
It is marvelous how a movie like this can consistently tug at your emotions without resorting to any of the usual cliches. For example, there really are no bad guys in this tale, only bad events, unless you want to count faceless terrorists back in Algeria who provide the teacher's back story.
Several important social issues are addressed head-on, ranging from the difficulties experienced by immigrants applying for political asylum to the frustrations experienced by educators constantly being cautioned against physical displays of affection.
It all wraps up with a such an efficient, emotionally satisfying denouement - definitely a feel-good movie without a Hollywood ending.
Pros well paced, great story, great actors, efficient ending
Yes, I recommend this movie.
0of0voted this as helpful.
Review 4 for (Unknown)
PostedApril 16, 2012
from Miami, FL
I found this film to be very close to my heart. I really enjoy the classroom setting of this film. However, what made this film stand out was the suicide. What happens when you put a suicide in a classroom? That's what this movie thrived on. Not in a bad way, but it made me think: what would I do if I was a parent, teacher or student in that situation? I loved that it was thought provoking and entertaining. I loved the kids and enjoyed their personalities.
This is a terrifically acted and gracefully directed movie about some tough and complicated topics, including suicide and exile. The namesake character, M. Lazhar, is in exile from Algeria. Without ruining the plot, let me just say that he left his country to pave the way for the rest of his family and some terrible things happened to them and they didn't make it. He assumes the role of the replacement teacher for a class whose teacher recently committed suicide. Every scene is emotionally charged, especially the ones involving some truly amazing child actors who are going through all of the pains of childhood as well as the recent loss of their teacher. It's also worth mentioning that this movie is set in French Canada and some of the current laws of that country are mildly criticized. I would recommend this movie to those who appreciate well-crafted stories and tempered acting. It's not for everyone, but it's a gem of a movie that the more discerning moviegoer will enjoy tremendously.