by M. Polier
U.S. Release Date: January 20, 2012
DIRECTOR: PHILIPPE FALARDEAU
- With sensitivity and humor, the story reconciles the taboo subjects of immigration, death and change. Adapted from a play by the director. Fellag steals the show which is hard to do with such great kids in his class.
- Starting with Simon (Emilien Neron), the student who discovers that his teacher has hung herself in their classroom in the beginning moments of the film, you are drawn into the story and emotionally in sync with all of them. Each character is sympathetic. No one is the villain, except maybe the cruelty of life and the heartbreak of coming of age.
- Although we rarely see a parent at the school, their burdensome threats and inappropriate opinions are present in almost every scene. Very interesting.
- Monsieur Lazhar after losing his wife and two daughters to terrorism – and has to argue for his life in front of heartless immigration officials – is astonishingly trauma free.
- This time it is the men who are powerless, with no way out.
- Some might think the ending is too abrubt.
FINAL VERDICT: A small film with big themes, an adult movie starring kids, with a great ending – recommended. French w/English subtitles.
Alice: “Everyone thinks we’re traumatized. It’s the adults who are.”
DAVE SAID, “It had a lot of good messages, but it was a little slow.”