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4.3 out of 5 stars
Monsieur Lazhar [Blu-ray] (Version française)
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
How is a class of eleven/twelve-year olds to cope with a tragedy that suddenly and out of the blue takes away their teacher? How do parents and teachers react to the trauma the children are experiencing? The school principal is under pressure to keep things "normal", none of the other teachers can take on the class, one school councillor is designated for the class of twenty plus young minds ' a crisis of great proportion' Into this challenging scenario walks Bashir Lazhar and offers himself as the ideal replacement teacher. With great subtlety and compassion does the film, Monsieur Lazhar, explore the evolving relationships between teacher and students, among various teachers and last but not least, between Bashir Lazhar at the school and his personal struggles beyond. The story touches on the different ways of dealing with loss and guilt, with honesty, lies and pretense, with prejudice and expediency. And finally, how the coping mechanisms of adults cannot easily be transferred to those of children living through a crisis. The story concentrates on two of the children, Simon and Alice, their growing hostility and Bashir's strict yet sensitive methods in dealing with the emotional struggles that the children go through.

Mohamed Fellag's acting in the role of Monsieur Lazhar is excellent, his interpretation of his character utterly convincing in his unassuming and often understated acting. The child actors, especially the two interpreting Simon and Alice, come across as natural and genuine. Philippe Falardeau, the film's writer/director came to international attention last year with his film "Incendies" that, like Monsieur Lazhar this year, was nominated for the Academy Award for best foreign-language film. [Friederike Knabe]
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
I am a French teacher and just saw this movie. I did not know that it would be such a moving, emotional journey and one that will reward any viewer. The young children are faced with a tragedy, and are torn between their emotions and their need to express what they feel as well as their hesitation to do so creates a tension that slowly builds up throughout the movie. The performances of Mohamed Fellag (Monsieur Lazhar) and especially that of Alice (the teacher's pet in many respects but who does so in a charming way), played by Sophie Nélisse, stand out. Very touching, sweet movie that is well worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2013
I bought this movie because it sounded (from the reviews) to be an incredible movie. Perhaps the message was lost on me. The movie makes you question what it means to deal with grief and loss.... and presents different ways in which people cope. I didn't find the movie to be 'inspirational' (as many reviews said it was). Instead, I found it to be heartfelt and emotional... but not inspiring.
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on October 21, 2014
“It’s fascinating watching a movie like this” what was the purpose of it’s subject, to see how
kids react to death, how adults can think they know what kids don’t know, what and when we should
say to them It’s going to okay, with kids being so inquisitive and brutally honest, when they think
they don’t get the right answer for their question, it always comes another that makes the adults look dumb,
when I was a kid one of my friends drowned in the ocean, I remember hiding behind the house because I was
so scared that we were going to get blame for it, and sure enough we were to blame, and to this day, still haunts me,
the thing is no one ever ask why his parents or all of us was allow to go without supervision, just because it’s something
we normally do, so the point I think, maybe the teacher was sending a message to her staff, because the love for her
students outweighed the closed-mindedness of the principle and the board, which teacher in her right mind would do that,
obviously her, plus we never see if anything was accomplished by the psychologist, only Monsieur Lazhar” was the main
focus of the movie, and the two kids, so I was a little shortchanged on that matter,
this disc has the option of English and French, but I cant activate the English, it still goes to the French with the English subtitle,
it wasn’t a problem for me though, have lots of movies like this, I’m used to it,
Widescreen 2.35:1
Runtime 95 Min.
French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio.
It Is Such A Sweet Movie.. Makes You Think About People..
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on January 7, 2015
This movie manages to cover a whole range of social issues without ever being preachy. A popular homeroom teacher in a Quebec Catholic school hangs herself in her classroom during mid-day break and the harassed principal, desperate to find a substitute quickly (nobody wants to replace a classroom suicide), takes on an Egyptian immigrant. And that sets the stage for multiple issues — underfunded schools, different styles of teaching, stressed out teachers, how to effectively maintain discipline or show sympathy without touching students, the refugee process, and so much more. The acting is impeccable — Fellag as Lazhar and Sophie Nélisse as the little girl central to the story are so convincing it's hard to believe they aren't the characters they play. It's a gentle, thoughtful, thoroughly engrossing movie that doesn't pander to any notions of political correctness. Can't recommend it enough.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2012
Monsieur Lazhar nous rappelle notre déficit de compétences au Québec, notre résistance à accueillir les immigrants compétents et notre capacité de reconnaître ces compétences lorsquue les immigrants persistent à faire la démonstration de leurs capacités.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2013
A wonderfully understated window on a human tragedy. Coming from London, it was very instructive to see the life of a school in Montreal and perhaps some of the more closed mentalities the Director exposes. Never sentimental but somehow eminently believable the acting by the children especially is a tour de force. Loved the multicultural classroom and the witty quips from both teachers and pupils. My favourite was Boris!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
Brilliant and moving from start to finish. Wonderfully realistic acting by everyone concerned. Do not miss it - if you cannot see it in a movie theatre, rent it, and you'll probably finish up buying it, it's that good.
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on November 20, 2014
I love this movie, I first saw it at our local Foreign Film festival and had to have it.....I lend it out to my "buds" ocassionally, I do not want to lose it so I am very particular to whom I lend it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The basis of this film is quite simple; a Montreal school teacher hangs herself in the classroom where she teaches her young charges. One of the boys Simon, discovers the body and raises the alarm. With the ensuing scandal it becomes nigh on impossible to get a replacement teacher and the kids are clearly traumatised by the whole experience.

Enter Monsieur Lazhar (Mohammed Fellag) he is from Algeria where he claims he was a teacher and he would like to step in and help. So faced with a decision of no teacher or a very keen one indeed, he gets the gig. The thing is that he is a man with a past and a tragic one too. Algeria has suffered years of terror and he and his family are one of its victims. He is also an asylum seeker and could face deportation at any time as his case is pending. This side of his life he keeps from everybody. He throws himself into connecting with the children and in doing so manages to unravel the truth of the past and the hostilities that the children have been harbouring amongst themselves.

This was an utterly absorbing film with performances from all involved that were brilliant. Emilien Neron who plays Simon is excellent but the real star is Mohammed Fellag who brings a warmth and humanity that is as touching as it is revealing about the human condition and possibly cultural attitudes.

This was taken from the play by Evelyne de la Cheneliere but has transferred to the screen with no hitches, there is a bit of love interest, no bedroom naughtiness and no real action. Yet this just shines through as a testament to great film making. In French with sub titles and a whole bucket of heart felt emotion – excellent.
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