Monsieur Lazhar - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Monsieur Lazhar Reviews

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½ February 7, 2017
This is an enjoyable Canadian French-language film. When a popular primary school teacher dies suddenly, Mr Lazhar, a recent Algerian immigrant, approaches the school in the hopes of filling the teaching position. This film follows him as he tries to help the children deal with their grief and loss of their teacher while he also deals with his own fight to seek asylum and gain permanent residency.
½ January 17, 2017
Toda una clase de guión e interpretación. Un discurso a la impotencia llena de brillantes matices salpicados de inocencia, este film es un poderoso discurso a la vida. Dirigida con una maestría inaudita, obsesionada con el detalle, "MONSIEUR LAZHAR" es una obra maestra que usted no puede dejar pasar. Una oda a la educación llena de realismo, inteligencia y pureza cinematográfica.
October 29, 2016
French language - subtitles.
A small scale, humane and poignant film. The film opens with kids in a school yard in their morning break and one 12 year old boy rushes to his class to distribute the morning milk cartons. But as he glances through the glass door to his classroom, he sees his woman teacher hanging from the ceiling. She has committed suicide. Of course he rushes to get help and the story develops about the effect this will have on staff and teachers. In particular a new class teacher has to be recruited as soon as possible. Mr Lazhar hears about the post and turns up at the headteachers' office with CV in hand and declaring that he has taught in Algeria for 19 years - which is a lie, as it was his wife who was a teacher.
He makes an impression and soon he is teaching the class. He is a humane, caring man who has undergone a horrible family tragedy back in Algeria and is in fact a refugee escaping from political persecution, and we see his interview with the Canadian authorities to gain asylum seeker status. This allows his tragic past to be re-told and we appreciate his humanity and decency in spite of this.
The film offers the chance to highlight some common issues that teachers have these days. The first thing that Mr Lazhar does is to place all the desks back into traditional straight lines instead of the trendy, inclusive 'group' semi-circle. Then he uses an old-fashioned book by Balzac to dictate - the kids are not impressed having to learn 'pre-historic French'. Clearly he is teaching like they did twenty or thirty years ago. He insists that a school class is about life, friendships, respect and learning. When a kid throws a paper, he quickly taps the back of his head and chastises him - this is a big no-no now, but it does work and the class is unbelievably well behaved. In another incident in the staff room, the PE teacher bemoans the fact that he can no longer even touch the kids "How do I teach a kid to use the pummel horse without touching! So I just get them to run in circles and blow my whistle - I'm bored and they are bored, but kids are like radioactive waste, you touch them and you are burned for life!'
The kids are clearly upset about the suicide and the school bring in a psychologist to discuss it with them. But what they really want is to either forget it "It's the grown-ups who are traumatised, not us" or one or two simply want a hug and be told it's not their fault. And Mr Lazhar does this - he reassures a hurt boy and hugs when it's appropriate. Again, he would have been sacked should this have been revealed to the politically correct management. It's apparent that even the senior staff don't like this hands-off, don't-upset-the- kids-ever, attitude. But they are as trapped as anyone else in the system - if they fail to act they too will be sacked.
The message of the film is that we should treat kids for what they are - kids, not a fully developed mini-sized adult. They want structure, discipline, understanding and respect, the political correctness now prevalent is actively preventing this.
September 18, 2016
It has the worn out story sometimes of the new teacher coming in and finding a place with his students, but luckily, there's a center to this movie about how both kids and adults deal with grief and also the ridiculousness of the intimate limitations teachers have to put up with in regards to their students. There are some very emotional scenes in here in an otherwise more lighthearted affair that definitely makes it worth viewing.
½ September 9, 2016
Nice independent movie. Good acting and heavy plot. Very good, not a must see but very interesting.
August 2, 2016
A well-meaning, yet frustratingly modest study of grief and the appropriate methods for educating youths, "Monsieur Lazhar" is produced with careful hands, but written with sparse moments of catharsis throughout. The performances are quite impressive and the thematics are certainly consistent, but, again, a little "too little too late" for my tastes.
Super Reviewer
October 7, 2015
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.
½ August 15, 2015
A great testament to movie making, this one is as pure as it gets. Real, emotional, to the point yet very subtle. A clear reminder to watch more foreign language movies.
½ July 16, 2015
Not a must see, but it was very good... movie of real situations.
April 22, 2015
It's a beautiful film -- you don't want to miss it!!
½ April 6, 2015
Sweet toching , interesting movie , Drama yes ...comedy no Some lovely kids in klas !
April 1, 2015
Impactful loss and life story. Brought by the beauty of French style. Natural performance by Mohamed Fellag. Kudos !
March 19, 2015
Not as good as heard, imho.
March 17, 2015
Similar to another film which I watched recently, THE CLASS, MONSIEUR LAZHAR deals with the goings-on in a classroom and the students' relationship with their teacher. However, in contrast to the previous film, MONSIEUR LAZHAR focuses on something that was a little more intimate and relatable to someone who isn't French or French-Canadian. After a schoolteacher commits suicide in her classroom, the students are left in shock as well as in need of a new teacher. The substitute comes in the form of an Algerian immigrant, Bachir Lazhar. Although it is initially hard for the students to warm up to him, eventually they do and he helps them in their process of grieving in addition to having some of his own. One thing that struck me was just how unassuming this film actually was. I kind of expected it to be along the same lines as THE CLASS, but it ended up being a lot more emotionally involving, which I really liked. Grief is something that we all go through at some point in our lives, and seeing how it affects children was an interesting approach to take. Of course, the performances were all excellent, even from the child actors. The clear standout is Fellag, who played Monsieur Lazhar himself. There was a certain warmth and honesty in his performance, as well as subtle shades of melancholy. You got the sense that he was really affected by what happened in his past, and just as affected by what happened to his students. I'd also like to mention the score, which was quite minimal. Outside of some classical music, there really wasn't a whole lot. More importantly, the score never interferes with the film's many emotional moments, allowing them to be powerful on their own. The only issue I took with the film was that there could have been a little more screen time or information about Monsieur Lazhar, given that the film is named after him. I also was caught off-guard at how abruptly the film ended. Not that I needed any more closure, but I was so invested in the story that I kind of wish there had been a little more. Overall, I'd say this was about on par with THE CLASS, maybe edging it out slightly. It certainly isn't light viewing, but it is rewarding in its own way.
March 9, 2015
A quiet revelation of authentic feeling in circumstances that could so easily have turned over-sentimentalized. Here we bear witness to human pain and resilience expressed by people we can care about.. People we trust are real. Thank you to all who created this experience for us. .
½ March 3, 2015
This will make you fragile. Great, beautiful & sensible film that shows a teacher's care & love for his students. The last scene was slow, simple, dramatic and sincere.
February 27, 2015
How selfish for a teacher to hang herself in the classroom and let her students find her.
February 25, 2015
?What can I say!? It's just wonderful. Sweet harmony moments with a algerian refugee in canada where he meets all the childern from this new school. They are shocked by losing their teacher. She hanged her self in the class. So bashir who fled from algerian terror startd to build a new life. And once he felt settle the school tells him he is a refugee. At least this time he had a time to say goodbye to those whom he love.
December 28, 2014
Between 2.5 and 3. Nice and lovely, although also with its deffects. Sometimes, that is enough. Focused on the kids, which is an interesting point of view.
½ December 27, 2014
A morose French Canadian drama which is suitably tender and well acted.
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