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Monsieur Lazhar (2012)



Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 112
Fresh: 109 | Rotten: 3

Monsieur Lahzar is a tender and thoughtful portrait of a man with hidden grief and also a compelling exploration of the teacher-student dynamic.


Average Rating: 8.4/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 2

Monsieur Lahzar is a tender and thoughtful portrait of a man with hidden grief and also a compelling exploration of the teacher-student dynamic.



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 25,715

My Rating

Movie Info

In Montreal, an elementary school teacher dies abruptly. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, goes to the school to offer his services as a substitute teacher. Quickly hired to replace the deceased, he finds himself in an establishment in crisis, while going through his own personal tragedy. The cultural gap between Bachir and his class is made immediately apparent when he gives them a dictation exercise that is beyond

Aug 28, 2012


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All Critics (112) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (109) | Rotten (3) | DVD (2)

Although it raises timeless questions about life and loss, and timely ones about mentorship and multiculturalism, "Monsieur Lazhar" would rather teach than preach.

June 1, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A gentle film can still be searing in its effect on an audience, something that "Monsieur Lazhar" proves emphatically.

May 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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With a few folds, this story could have made a script for John Barrymore, like Topaze, or for Chaplin.

May 11, 2012 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
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You could almost describe 'Monsieur Lazhar' as a morality tale, but it's more thought-provoking than debate-provoking.

May 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A sad, reflective study of the possibilities, and the impossibilities, inherent in the teacher-student relationship.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Monsieur Lazhar" is good. Really good.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Guaranteed to have you reaching for the Kleenex.

June 2, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

Falardeau had the good fortune to work with a powerfully effective ensemble cast, and Martin Léon's minimalist ambient score helps set the mood for a satisfying story about the healing effect brief encounters can have on emotional scars.

April 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Las Vegas CityLife

While it may not stand out from similar movies, Monsieur Lazhar is a sweet film with a simple story and remains engaging thanks in large part to Mohamed Fellag's charming performance.

January 15, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Philippe Falardeau's direction is a model of the notion that less is more, and this film is a treat well worth savoring.

January 7, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This is cinema at its most impactful.

November 22, 2012 Full Review Source:

By the time you realise how invested you are in this tale it is too late: Monsieur Lazhar has you. I consider myself a cinematic Chuck Norris, but this film had me blubbering like a baby.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

While "Monsieur Lazhar" is a decent film, I wish it would have done more to stand out from other similar films.

September 16, 2012 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

The film understands the complex bond between teachers and students, and how the classroom is a sacred space they share for a short time before moving on.

September 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Thankfully, the impressive cast of child actors actually behave like children, not like miniature adults.

September 7, 2012 Full Review Source: 3AW

Monsieur Lazhar is a film to cherish.

September 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Limelight

Monsieur Lazhar never pretends to be anything but a grown-up fable, and it's a captivating one.

September 6, 2012 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Phillipe Falardeau, who adapted the play into a screenplay, can't entirely paper over a few niggling loose ends, but overall this disturbing film is very effective indeed.

September 6, 2012 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Lazhar is something of a puzzle, and much of the pleasure of Philippe Falardeau's film lies in the gradual unfolding of his reserved yet impulsive personality.

September 6, 2012 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

Very few films offer a moral grandeur, as well as a political foundation; very few films have such poised and brilliant performances from unknown actors.

September 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Monsieur Lazhar is a film that focuses on humanity when at its most vulnerable, with the film itself a warm embrace that will evoke tears of joy.

September 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Beautifully performed by all the actors, not least the youngsters

September 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

The fact that both teacher and students are in need of protection adds greatly to the poignancy and Falardeau delivers an emotionally rich film filled with nuance, grace and subtlety

September 1, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Under Falardeau's inconspicuous lens, life plays out with rare authenticity; not just its tragedies, but its triumphs, its mishaps and its incidental interludes

July 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Moviedex

In Monsieur Lazhar, education can prevail over its literal restrictions. Teachers may make mistakes, but the good ones emphasize independence and intelligence. And interpretation. They serve inquisitiveness, not inquisition.

July 5, 2012 Full Review Source:

Falardeau's adaptation of fellow Québécois Evelyne de la Chenelière's play honours the power of the written word (a motif reinforced throughout the film), and expands on its stage origins via remarkably-assured cinematic touches.

June 7, 2012 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Monsieur Lazhar

A refugee from Algeria goes to Montreal and takes over for a teacher who killed herself.
A gentle film with an edge, Monsieur Lazhar features strong performances by Mohamed Fellag and his young class. There are many scenes that seem aimless until they're considered in the scope of the larger story.
As a whole, the film is part of the teacher-as-hero genre, and while its anti-intellectualism is confined to the premise that a man with no training can succeed, Monsieur Lazhar is a nurturing love educator, thrown into an emotionally charged classroom with grief-demons of his own. Its thesis -- that there are times when educators are called on to be caring parental figures -- is ludicrous in reality, but I found it effective because of Fellag's soulful performance.
I think the conflict is never fully resolved, which is a common complaint I have with French-language films. I think Lazhar should have had to expose his damage; these kids' emotional lives are on display for Lazhar, and it seemed logical that Lazhar would have to do likewise. The fable bit was an attempt, but the writing on this fable didn't go far enough.
Overall, this is a strong film in a problematic genre.
April 21, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Nice enough movie, just really slow. Definitely the kind that critics like....
March 31, 2013

Super Reviewer

A delicate drama that is both original and heartwarming. For me its the antidote to all the sickly sweet Teacher dramas like Dead Poet Society that I hate even though everyone else seems to love it. It's never over the top or preachy but always makes valued points and raises intelligent questions. The last scene is so powerful and yet so simple, it's a great example of subtle brilliance and perfect film making.
December 21, 2012

Super Reviewer

By no means is Monsieur Lazhar bad or even mediocre. Let's admit, it has the ability to convey an unknown sort of beauty and present some moments-particularly the shocking opening and the bittersweet conclusion-that will no less than resonate with an audience. On the other hand, it seems all too familiar. We've seen this plot countless times: bitter coexistence between character(s) who cannot forget their trauma (the students) and character(s) who just want to move on (Lazhar). Ordinary People is a mere start in this extensive list. Perhaps Monsieur Lazhar isn't skilled enough to progress as an A-plus classic. At a B-minus, though, it's a film deserving moderate recommendation.

read the rest at
September 14, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Bachir Lazhar: The dead stay in our heads because we loved them.
    – Submitted by Maryam Z (14 months ago)
    1. Mrs. Dumas: These are Rice Krispies squares.
    2. Gaston: They're like baklavas but Québec-style.
    – Submitted by Maryam Z (14 months ago)
    1. Alice: Everyone thinks we're traumatized. It's the adults who are.
    – Submitted by Tracy K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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