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Monsieur Lazhar Reviews

Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Although it raises timeless questions about life and loss, and timely ones about mentorship and multiculturalism, "Monsieur Lazhar" would rather teach than preach.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 3.5/4

June 1, 2012
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
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A gentle film can still be searing in its effect on an audience, something that "Monsieur Lazhar" proves emphatically.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 4.5/5

May 24, 2012
Stanley Kauffmann
The New Republic
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With a few folds, this story could have made a script for John Barrymore, like Topaze, or for Chaplin.

Full Review Source: The New Republic

May 11, 2012
Cath Clarke
Time Out
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You could almost describe 'Monsieur Lazhar' as a morality tale, but it's more thought-provoking than debate-provoking.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/5

May 1, 2012
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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A sad, reflective study of the possibilities, and the impossibilities, inherent in the teacher-student relationship.

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 27, 2012
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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"Monsieur Lazhar" is good. Really good.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 4/4

April 27, 2012
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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"Monsieur Lazhar" is a complex, multilayered tale that reveals new meanings as it introduces each new character.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 26, 2012
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The film is rich in naturalistic, tossed-off details.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 26, 2012
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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A standard liberal tale about an inspirational teacher gradually deepens into a quiet study of how grief works its way through a community.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

April 26, 2012
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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It's all a bit neat. But whatever the film's limitations, it's certainly engaging to watch.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

April 26, 2012
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Its purpose is to present us with a situation, explore the people involved and show us a man who is dealing with his own deep hurts.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 26, 2012
Tom Long
Detroit News
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How do we get past tragedy? Together.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: B+

April 20, 2012
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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What could be didactic is rendered life-size and indelible, even with the cards that Falardeau has carefully stacked.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 19, 2012
Dana Stevens
Slate
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Fellag, an Algerian comedian and humor writer, anchors the film as the ineffable Bachir, a man who's so private that even the third-act revelation of his back story doesn't fully explain his motivations to us (nor would we want it to).

Full Review Source: Slate

April 13, 2012
Stephen Farber
Hollywood Reporter
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Canada's foreign-language submission is a searing classroom drama about grief that should be an Oscar front-runner.

Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter

April 13, 2012
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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The French-Canadian film Monsieur Lazhar has one of the most powerful openings I've ever seen in a movie.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: B+

April 13, 2012
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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The movie's tonic lack of sentimentality binds the various griefs together into something moving.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B+

April 13, 2012
Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
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An understated story of coping with emotional blows that offers a compelling portrait of a decent man.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

April 13, 2012
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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Like a dedicated teacher, this is a film that stays with you.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 13, 2012
Bob Mondello
NPR
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Fellag, a comedian and himself an exile from Algeria, makes Lazhar both a sensitive and an amusing figure. And the kids are just terrific, especially Emilien Neron as a boy who carries the guilt of the whole school on his shoulders.

Full Review Source: NPR

April 13, 2012
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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The film, alas, seems determined to be as careful, as gentle, as Lazhar himself.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2.5/4

April 13, 2012
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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This film deals almost casually with a range of issues and themes, handling with a light and even affectionate touch weighty subjects like grief, guilt, community and love.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

April 12, 2012
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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What makes the film enthralling is the wisdom and grace with which it addresses the twin subjects of grief and healing, and the quiet beauty of Mohamed Fellag's performance in the title role.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

April 12, 2012
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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"Monsieur Lazhar" sustains an exquisite balance between grown-up and child's-eye views of education, teacher-student relations and peer-group interactions.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

April 12, 2012
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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Falarde, in adapting a play, has a sweet, humanistic approach reminiscent of Bill Forsyth's '80s dramedies that lets "Lazhar's" protagonist and his class shine.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 4/5

April 12, 2012
John Anderson
Newsday
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Though it's a bit too early to say that it's an unforgettable movie, one suspects it is. It's also about so many things it nearly defies explanation.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 12, 2012
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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The film leaves you hopeful, and even exhilarated, that even the most painful wounds can sometimes heal.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 12, 2012
Eric Hynes
Time Out New York
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Fellag does for the film what his Lazhar does for the pupils: He's soothing and entrancingly enigmatic enough to keep us fixed to our seats.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/5

April 10, 2012
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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Monsieur Lazhar builds hope in the face of tragedy and sheds new light on the question of what is truth and how we find it.

Full Review Source: New York Observer | Original Score: 3.5/4

April 10, 2012
Michelle Orange
Village Voice
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NÚlisse, with her tough, Courtney Love puss, and NÚron's portrayal of a boy's well-defended torment are extraordinary, as is the film's realization of the small, temporary world that surrounds them.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

April 10, 2012
David Denby
New Yorker
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Monsieur Lazhar is so discreet that it never quite comes to life.

Full Review Source: New Yorker

April 10, 2012
David Edelstein
New York Magazine
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Ineffably sad-yet there's almost no loitering. The film is crisp, evenly paced, its colors bright, as sharp as the winter cold.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine

April 9, 2012
Jennie Punter
Globe and Mail
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An exquisite, humanistic and subtly topical work of cinema art that manages to keep the intimate, revelatory sensibility of a one-man play intact while fleshing out the characters and creating a very realistic and richly detailed school community.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 4/4

January 27, 2012
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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It's a tapestry of fraught relationships, weaving issues of parental authority, social taboos and national boundaries. Empathy comes through understanding, but it's not easily achieved. It never is.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 4/4

January 26, 2012
Boyd van Hoeij
Variety
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Quietly intelligent and respectable, much like its protag.

Full Review Source: Variety

October 19, 2011
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