Support us with Kachingle!
June 29, 2012 | 10:54 p.m. CST
An Algerian immigrant enters a school in mourning to replace a teacher who has just committed suicide. With his own secret tragedy, Bachir Lazhar attempts to help the kids with their situation as he looks for answers for his own problems.
If you are not a fan of cliffhangers, this might not be your cup of tea, and because the movie is in French, you might want to avoid it if you’re strongly opposed to subtitles. It seems that almost none of the conflicts truly get resolved, and some of the plot seems to barely develop at all. But Monsieur Lazhar, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, utilizes a extremely wide range of emotions, so be prepared to laugh, and if you’re a crier, the Kleenex will be a must.
Three main characters usher the story along. Simon (Émilien Néron) is the student who finds his teacher after the suicide. He suspects he might have some fault in the death, which causes him to act out. Alice (Sophie Nélisse) is a bright young girl, intellectually and emotionally advanced for her age, who makes the strongest connection with the new teacher. Her mother, who is an airline pilot, is gone most of the time, which leaves her searching for adult guidance.
Lazhar (Mohamed Fellage) arrives at the Montreal school a stranger. As he deals with tragedy, which forced him out of his native Algeria, he tries hard to connect with the kids. By the end, he must face his past and suffer the consequences.
It is easy to love the characters, especially the relationship between Lazhar and Alice, but the majority of the movie seems underdeveloped. The lack of resolution leaves the audience hanging. It seemed only the surface was scratched on what could have been a much more compelling interaction.
Because of the lack of answers, it was impossible not to hang on every word, wondering if anything would be resolved in the end. Overall, fantastic acting and comic relief throughout the dramatic story blend wonderfully, creating a sense of warmth and sadness sure to touch each viewer's heart.