Monsieur Lazhar (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

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.

Monsieur Lazhar Trailers & Photos

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 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 Boxmore
Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic material, a disturbing image and brief language)
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Philippe Falardeau
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 28, 2012
Box Office: $2.0M
Music Box Films - Official Site


Mohamed Fellag
as Bachir Lazhar
Danielle Proulx
as Mrs. Vaillancourt
Francine Ruel
as Mrs. Dumas
Marie-Ève Beauregard
as Marie-Frédérique
André Robitaille
as Commissioner
Daniel Gadouas
as Me Gilbert Danis
Stéphane Demers
as Marie-Frédérique's F...
Marie Charlebois
as Prosecutor
Nico Lagarde
as Psychologist
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Monsieur Lazhar

Critic Reviews for Monsieur Lazhar

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (36)

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… | June 1, 2012
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Guaranteed to have you reaching for the Kleenex.

Full Review… | June 2, 2013
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.

Full Review… | April 21, 2013

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.

Full Review… | January 15, 2013
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.

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This is cinema at its most impactful.

Full Review… | November 22, 2012

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.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


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.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


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

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

Monsieur Lazhar Quotes

Bachir Lazhar: The dead stay in our heads because we loved them.
– Submitted by Maryam Z (2 years ago)
Mrs. Dumas: These are Rice Krispies squares.
Gaston: They're like baklavas but Québec-style.
– Submitted by Maryam Z (2 years ago)
Alice: Everyone thinks we're traumatized. It's the adults who are.
– Submitted by Tracy K (4 years ago)

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