Monsieur Lazhar (2012)

Monsieur Lazhar
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Director: Philippe Falardeau
Actors: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nelisse, Emilien Neron

At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed. FRENCH LANGUAGE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 94mins
Origin: CANADA
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Audio Formats: French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
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Run Time: 94mins
File Size (Approx): 0.8 GB
Yo, teach!
by Jess Lomas,

Writer director Philippe Falardeau has but a handful of credits to his name, and yet his latest went on to become a 2012 Best Foreign Language Film nominee. With such an achievement to its name, Monsieur Lazhar delivers as a touching and thought provoking exploration of loss and grief. After the suicide of their beloved teacher, a class struggles to move beyond this violent exposure to the adult world. When their new teacher Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) arrives, he aims to help his class move beyond this tragedy - a task made harder as the late teacher’s ghost haunts her students’ minds - whilst hiding his own secrets and demons from them. Emigrating from Algeria to Montreal and fleeing terrorism in his home land, will Lazhar open up and share his misfortune with his students, and can t...

Writer director Philippe Falardeau has but a handful of credits to his name, and yet his latest went on to become a 2012 Best Foreign Language Film nominee. With such an achievement to its name, Monsieur Lazhar delivers as a touching and thought provoking exploration of loss and grief.

After the suicide of their beloved teacher, a class struggles to move beyond this violent exposure to the adult world. When their new teacher Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) arrives, he aims to help his class move beyond this tragedy - a task made harder as the late teacher’s ghost haunts her students’ minds - whilst hiding his own secrets and demons from them. Emigrating from Algeria to Montreal and fleeing terrorism in his home land, will Lazhar open up and share his misfortune with his students, and can they learn something from one another about life?

What impresses initially about this movie are the performances from its young cast, who can vary between naive, vulnerable, funny, and heart wrenching in the short 94 minute run time. In particular two performances strike as mature beyond the actors’ years; Sophie Nelisse as Alice, a bookworm and one of the children to witness their teacher hanging in the classroom, and Emilien Neron, a troublemaker and photo enthusiast who feels guilt over his teacher’s death.

While the picture deals with issues of grief and guilt, examining both the children’s confusion and the teachers’ helplessness over the incident, it also seeks to make a statement about the shift in teacher-student relationships. Gone are the days of being able to offer a student a hug; a hilarious gym teacher laments how hard it is to teach the pommel horse when you can’t even touch the child. As Lazhar attempts to connect with his students and move beyond his own anguish, he and the audience discover, as many would have in real life by now, that children are no longer allowed to remain children for as long as they used to.

Fellag delivers a competent performance as Lazhar, exhibiting an inner sadness and a longing to be happy once more. The joy brought to him by his students contributes to the tear-inducing ending, which rattles the heart. A film that lives up to the hype, Monsieur Lazhar holds a mirror up to life and shows that in death new beginnings can thrive.

4/5

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Member Reviews (20)

Harlowe
says
Quite a nice movie. I do not know why people have issues with subtitles. This is an enjoyable human story with very believable performances, delivered best by the kids.
Posted Wednesday, 9 July 2014 See my other reviews
Mary
says
An excellent movie. Children should be able to express grief, anger, love, and any other emotion. It is a pity that affection and hugging has had to be abandoned in our Schools etc., because of the perceived trouble it can cause. Definitely recommend.
Posted Wednesday, 2 April 2014 See my other reviews
cherry_bobby
says
an enjoyable movie showing the issues that some people are confronted with
Posted Monday, 17 February 2014 See my other reviews
Ron Dundas
says
A movie that charmed us. Well worth it. The child actors were fabulous. It was just a great story told well. (I liked the parents line that there is a difference between teaching and raising a child. I wished I used that line in parent teacher nights I have experienced.)
Posted Monday, 3 February 2014 See my other reviews
Aswin
says
Gentle interpretation of a sensitive subject, Watch out for the girl who plays the part of Sophie in "The Book Thief". Looking forward to seeing her in more films in the future.
Posted Monday, 27 January 2014 See my other reviews
David-AU
says
A great little film, though it surprises me how a refugee, who hasn't had his status confirmed, can get a job in a Canadian school, and work with 11-12yo's, without having his qualifications confirmed. The acting by its two young stars, Émilien Néron and Sophie Nélisse is just stunning. Émilien Néron's classroom scene is the highlight of the movie. Catch his acting abilities in his audition callback in the DVD's extras. He even surprises his young co-star Sophie Nélisse (The Book Thief).
Posted Monday, 20 January 2014 See my other reviews
The Gus
says
To quote Gerd: "It's a low-key story, slowly developed, beautifully filmed & very believable. The focus is on the kids, who are a delight: a mixture of typical youthful mischievousness & unexpected maturity... ... At heart the movie tells a sad story, dealing gently with profound issues of societal pressures on teachers & on refugees." It was very moving and I believe it's a really important story that needed to be told - especially with this level of respect and texture
Posted Friday, 10 January 2014 See my other reviews
Beautiful
Posted Wednesday, 27 November 2013 See my other reviews
McLovin
says
An engaging story, touching too.
Posted Thursday, 14 November 2013 See my other reviews
Very moving, many levels. Great acting from kids and makes you realise what pain kids also can experience
Posted Thursday, 24 October 2013 See my other reviews
Firebird
says
A really touching film. - loved it!
Posted Friday, 23 August 2013 See my other reviews
CL-D
says
If you can buy the premise that an obvious foreigner can walk into a school and start teaching without any papers you will have no trouble with this film. It is very good though, and the acting from the children is terrific. The story is multi layered but not too complex and has underlying lessons for most people, and that is an important thing in a film. It's an enjoyable watch too.
Posted Friday, 3 May 2013 See my other reviews
greta jessup
says
a very beautiful French movie thought provoking and some wonderful performances. A must for everyone
Posted Saturday, 6 April 2013 See my other reviews
VM
says
It's a charming, delightful and ultimately very moving film about dealing with loss and change. It doesn't hit you over the head with trite observations, nor is it cloyingly sentimental. It's well acted, the children are wonderful and Mr Lazhar, who dare not reveal his own inner turmoil, is superb.
Posted Tuesday, 2 April 2013 See my other reviews
Fififilmbuff
says
Beautiful sad and sometimes a bit funny - watched it with my 15 year old and she loved it but found it quite confronting.
Posted Saturday, 30 March 2013 See my other reviews
jennie
says
Good movie-hard to follow at times . a sad story and I felt so sorry for Monsieur Lazhar
Posted Thursday, 14 March 2013 See my other reviews
kimbo
says
Monsieur Lazhar' tells a beautiful and gentle story of a sixth-grade class whose students are trying to cope with the suicide of their previous teacher, Martine. And their new teacher, Bashir Lazhar, is trying to cope with the death of his family. The class and Lazhar, both prove to be mutually beneficial to each other in coping with their losses.
Posted Sunday, 3 March 2013 See my other reviews
CC
says
Despite good performances, especially from the kids, and engaging and believable storyline, this movie missed the mark for me as the characters aren't very well developed. Despite the obvious depth of the characters' experiences, this potential is largely unexplored.
Posted Sunday, 3 March 2013 See my other reviews
gerd
says
It's a low-key story, slowly developed, beautifully filmed and very believable. The focus is on the kids, who are a delight: a mixture of typical youthful mischievousness and unexpected maturity. It seems like an authentic class. At heart the movie tells a sad story, dealing gently with profound issues of societal pressures on teachers and on refugees. Detrimental to the movie are too many scenes that go nowhere and seem to be there just to fill in the running time.
Posted Thursday, 28 February 2013 See my other reviews
carolyn
says
A beautifully filmed, slightly sad and realistic story (subtitled), I loved it but I guess it wouldnt delight everyone....for people who love foreign films and appreciate a decent movie when they see one. Was curious to see it after it had great reviews on the Movie Show and wasnt disappointed!
Posted Thursday, 28 February 2013 See my other reviews
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