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



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

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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.
Art House & International , Documentary , Drama , Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:


Georges Lopez
as Himself
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Critic Reviews for To Be and to Have (Etre et Avoir)

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (23)

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

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)


Apparently there was a lot of talk about the teacher and whether he was all that he appears to be which is seemingly the perfect teacher. This film brings out all the warm feelings of nostalgia for those early days of learning with the first teachers that we loved. Incredibly sweet.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A little cute & touching documentary

Arash Xak
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
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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