Monsieur Lazhar (2012)
Critic Consensus: Monsieur Lahzar is a tender and thoughtful portrait of a man with hidden grief and also a compelling exploration of the teacher-student dynamic.
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 their reach. Little by little, Bachir learns to better know this group of shaken but endearing kids, among whom are Alice and Simon, two charismatic pupils particularly affected by their teacher's death. While the class goes through the healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir's painful past; nor do they suspect that he is at risk of being deported at any moment. -- (C) Music Box … More
|Rating:||PG-13 (for mature thematic material, a disturbing image and brief language)|
|Genre:||Drama, Art House & International, Comedy|
|Directed By:||Philippe Falardeau|
|Written By:||Philippe Falardeau|
|In Theaters:||Apr 13, 2012 Limited|
|On DVD:||Aug 28, 2012|
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as Bachir Lazhar
as Mrs. Vaillancourt
as Mrs. Dumas
as Me Gilbert Danis
as Marie-Frédérique's F...
as Alice's Mother
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Critic Reviews for Monsieur Lazhar
Although it raises timeless questions about life and loss, and timely ones about mentorship and multiculturalism, "Monsieur Lazhar" would rather teach than preach.
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.
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.
Philippe Falardeau's direction is a model of the notion that less is more, and this film is a treat well worth savoring.
Audience Reviews for Monsieur Lazhar
Even if the performances are not that strong, this is a delicate drama that could have been easily made into a maudlin melodrama in the wrong hands but instead goes for a realistic approach that renders it much more involving, touching and sincere than most films of the kind.
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.
Nice enough movie, just really slow. Definitely the kind that critics like....
Monsieur Lazhar Quotes
|Bachir Lazhar:||The dead stay in our heads because we loved them.|
|Mrs. Dumas:||These are Rice Krispies squares.|
|Gaston:||They're like baklavas but QuÃ©bec-style.|
|Alice:||Everyone thinks we're traumatized. It's the adults who are.|
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