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4.3 out of 5 stars34
4.3 out of 5 stars
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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 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 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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I have never been so thoroughly engaged in watching a movie as this one. Bravo to this Quebec filmmaker Philip Falardeau for touching the heart of a retired teacher in a very special way. This film has a number of things going for it: one, it effectively addresses a package of interconnecting issues within the framework of a very believable story; two, the acting is terrific in that it plays to the emotional tempo of the plot - no overacting or histrionics here; three, its open-ended conclusion speaks to a realism not found in many North American films these days; and, four, the film is very down-to-earth in how it handles the many challenges facing administrators, teachers, parents, janitors and, most importantly, students in a school year hit hard by tragedy. On the first count, there is plenty to mull over in terms of understanding some of life's big questions: how and why children grieve; how does the public perceive teachers; how are immigrants received in a very closed society like Quebec; how do children relate to children during a sudden crisis; and how people cope with the loss of a loved one. Within this context, all the acting is appropriately focused on trying to clarify and resolve the problems that emerge when people sometimes feel alienated, are misunderstood, are lied to, become uncertain of the future, or are just plain overwhelmed by a personal loss. As the movie finishes, the audience is left with an incomplete feeling that though people can come together to achieve a better understanding of each other's needs, the problems never really go away; we just learn how to handle them better and move on with our lives. To that end, Bachir Lazhar has to be one of those winsome characters who, because of personal adversities, is able to act compassionately when dealing with others in similar straits. While there is copious amounts of pain here, there is more than enough real love to offset it. Be prepared for a couple of well-timed surprises as you become absorbed in this most poignant of human tragedies. Lots of food for thought in this heart-warming and heart-rending production.
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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 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 April 28, 2013
Our sympathies are with everyone in this movie (except, perhaps, the domineering set of parents!). Easy solutions are not on offer. The movie walks us through a period of grief in a school's existence, and in doing so we realize the movie has walked alongside us in our own grief. I realize I'm being a bit obscure in this review but I don't want to offer any spoilers. If this description appeals to you I would encourage you to watch the movie. There are connections and allusions to québécois culture that will increase your enjoyment if you are aware of them, but the movie is still excellent if you are not (so speaks my partner).
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