Mr. Holland's Opus Reviews
The film is so well done, and it centers around his one and only child who was deaf and his struggles with his father for understanding music. A few battles with the school system ensue, the film is a beautiful 2 and a half hours that never feels dragged on and and intelligently goes through each decade of Mr. Holland's career starting in the '60s and ending at the age of 60 being forced into retirement during the year of the film, 1995.
Throughout there are plenty of cheesy moments played up to make us cry, but Richard Dreyfuss (at his best here) sells it all so well that the moments work. Sure some teenagers look a little old (including Terrence Howard), the vice principal (William H. Macy) is a straw-man asshole, and there's the bitter irony of a music teacher's son being deaf, but you can't help but be moved when Dreyfuss signs & sings John Lennon's"Beautiful Boy" to his son in concert. I think there is a value to a maudlin film where a man doesn't get the life he wanted, but still ends up happy. It can feel forced but the sentiment is still very reassuring.
And the performance of Richard Dreyfuss in this movie is nothing short of amazing. How he didn;t get an Oscar for this is beyond me.
There are moments in the movie that stick with you and the great movies have those. For instance during the parade scene when he realizes his son isn't hearing the noise....that stuck with me.
The movie has an interesting predicament. The musician/teacher relies on people hearing his work and the closest person to him being his son can't hear....It's intersting...
Good overly sentimental film.
Mr. Holland (Richard Dreyfuss): "You ought to find a wife first."
Coach Meister (Jay Thomas): "I don't want kids that badly."
I remembered there was so much press surrounding this film when it first came out, and I have to admit, rightfully so because this was excellent. The cast was simply amazing, and they had some heavy-weights in this film too: Richard Dreyfuss, in the title role of Mr. Holland, who has made a career out of being a wonderful actor was no less perfect as Mr. Holland. Then, of course there is Olympia Dukakis ( Principal Jacobs) who was equally as brilliant and the ever talented William H. Macy (Vice Principal Wolters). Even the supporting cast did an awesome job: Jay Thomas as Coach Meister was absolutely hilarious, adding just the right touch of humor in the film and the standout performance in the whole film (IMHO) was given by the ethereal Jean Louisa Kelly, who played the talented songbird Rowena Morgan. The story was simple and touching; no explosions or twisted conspiracy plots, just a story about one of the most underappreciated professions in the entire world, a teacher. What's more impressive in this film was the way they aged Mr. Holland, using the tried-and-true method of make-up artistry and prosthetics since I think this film was pre-CGI. It was truly impressive work for the time. Overall, the story was beautiful and characters were lovable; it definitely the epitome example of giving thanks to an otherwise, often overlooked position and person. Brilliant!!!