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Monsieur Lazhar
Monsieur Lazhar

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Mohamed Fellag, Sophie NÚlisse
Apr 13, 2012
PG-13, 1 hr. 34 min.


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Movie Info

Cast: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie NÚlisse, Emilien NÚron, Danielle Proulx, Seddik Benslimane, Brigitte Poupart, Louis Champagne, Jules Philip, Francine Ruel, Sophie Sanscartier
Director: Philippe Falardeau
Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Theater Release: Apr 13, 2012
DVD Release: Aug 28, 2012
Synopsis: In Montreal, an elementary school teacher dies abruptly. Having learned of the incident in the newspaper, Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, goes to the school to offer his services as a substitute teacher. Quickly hired to replace the deceased, he finds himself in an establishment in crisis, while going through his own personal tragedy. The cultural gap between Bachir and his class is made immediately apparent when he gives them a dictation exercise that is beyond their reach. Little by little, Bachir learns to better know this group of shaken but endearing kids, among whom are Alice and Simon, two charismatic pupils particularly affected by their teacher's death. While the class goes through the healing process, nobody in the school is aware of Bachir's painful past; nor do they suspect that he is at risk of being deported at any moment. -- (C) Music Box

Critic Reviews

  • Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Although it raises timeless questions about life and loss, and timely ones about mentorship and multiculturalism, "Monsieur Lazhar" would rather teach than preach.
  • Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic
    A gentle film can still be searing in its effect on an audience, something that "Monsieur Lazhar" proves emphatically.
  • Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic
    With a few folds, this story could have made a script for John Barrymore, like Topaze, or for Chaplin.
  • Cath Clarke, Time Out
    You could almost describe 'Monsieur Lazhar' as a morality tale, but it's more thought-provoking than debate-provoking.
  • Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
    A sad, reflective study of the possibilities, and the impossibilities, inherent in the teacher-student relationship.
  • Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
    "Monsieur Lazhar" is good. Really good.
  • John Hartl, Seattle Times
    "Monsieur Lazhar" is a complex, multilayered tale that reveals new meanings as it introduces each new character.
  • Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
    The film is rich in naturalistic, tossed-off details.
  • J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
    A standard liberal tale about an inspirational teacher gradually deepens into a quiet study of how grief works its way through a community.
  • Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
    It's all a bit neat. But whatever the film's limitations, it's certainly engaging to watch.
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