To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir) (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir) (2003)



Critic Consensus: A small, sensitive, and moving portrait of a teacher and his students.

To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A chronicle which follows an academic year in the lives of twelve school kids, ages 4-10, who are taught every subject, from math to gym, by one single dedicated teacher, Georges Lopez.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Art House & International, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 1, 2008
New Yorker Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir)

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (28)

It demonstrates without overreaching what an actual teacher can do to shape lives.

Full Review… | August 7, 2004
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

A counterintuitive film about a small schoolhouse in rural France, To Be and to Have gets its punch from simple scenes and conversations.

Full Review… | January 30, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

To Be and to Have is a movie every teacher should see, and every parent, too.

January 23, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

At times, it feels as stultifying as watching paint dry, without the recompense of sniffing fumes.

Full Review… | January 23, 2004
Denver Post
Top Critic

Watchful viewers -- particularly those with fond memories of a favorite teacher -- will be deeply moved by this film.

Full Review… | November 21, 2003
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Amounts to a rare gift and an opportunity to appreciate the end of an era.

November 21, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir)

A little cute & touching documentary

Arash Xak

Super Reviewer

A sweet look at a teacher in a small French town and the children he teaches. We watch as he teaches them and they grow up and finally leave. It is moving and sad. We learn about the children and get to know them in a piece of voyeuristic brilliance.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"To Be and To Have" is a documentary that focuses on Georges Lopez who has been teaching at the same one-room schoolhouse in rural France for the last 20 years(very quaint by the way) and is about a year away from retirement. He teaches a group of elementary school students of various ages.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]But here's my question: why is there a documentary about this particular teacher and this classroom? What is so special about it? Lopez apparently does an excellent job but that is what all teachers should be doing anyway, right? (We never see the positive effect that this teacher might have had on his past students.) Another clue lies in the rural setting. It is implied that a quality education can improve the children's lives over those of their parents but all people need a quality education, especially in a democracy. And yes, the children are adorable but the movie exploits that simply for entertainment value.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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