Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Marie-Ève Beauregard, Vincent Millard, Seddik Benslimane, Louis-David Leblanc, Gabriel Verdier, Marianne Soucy-Lord, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart

Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) is an immigrant to Canada from Algeria. When, at an Elementary School, a teacher commits suicide while the kids are in school, Bachir sees an opening to apply for the role as teacher to the students of the affected class. His own personal trials and agonies help him to assist his students in coping with the loss in this drama based on a play.

This is a heartwarming story. I really enjoyed watching it, but there are a couple things you should know. First, it is based on a play, so there isn’t a lot of scenery or beautiful locations. It simply takes place in the halls and classroom of the school. Secondly, the movie is in French, so you have to devote the time to watch the movie closely to catch the excellent discussion and dialog in subtitles unless you’re lucky enough to be familiar in the old French they speak in Montreal. If you are ready to put these two issues behind you, you’re in for a really well developed story. I’m not sure what makes playwrights different than screenwriters, but it must be the lack of visual queues due to the limitations of the stage that makes them develop richer and fuller dialog. These characters are very well developed. From those who knew the teacher involved and who felt a need to defend and protect her memory, to those who wanted to hold her responsible, to Mr. Lazhar’s view which based on his own back story is more like “S*** Happens”. The back story of his attempts to qualify for permanent residency as due to political asylum and his unique set of circumstances make him an excellent helper to the students affected by the tragedy. He’s had his share himself. But some do not approve of his methods. This is a well told story with great character development, not much action or suspense, but a good dramatic tale that must have been an excellent play before it was a movie. I can recommend this one for those of you who can handle a dramatic story (which is slow sometimes) told in subtitles.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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