Movie Review: 'Monsieur Lazhar' -- 3 stars
Directed by Philippe Falardeau
Starring Mohamed Fellag
Bachir Lazhar and his elementary school class were made for each other. Lazhar, a middle-aged Algerian immigrant, is seeking political asylum in Quebec after the tragic death of his wife and daughter. His students, 11- and 12-years-old, are struggling to cope with the suicide of Lazhar's predecessor, who hanged herself during recess.
The Canadian drama “Monsieur Lazhar” traces that delicate mutual healing process inside and outside the classroom, as the teacher and his students bond over literature, dictations and more.
Writer-director Philippe Falardeau resists the sentimentalized convolutions of the standard inspirational-teacher drama. No one learns life-changing lessons, and Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) is too troubled to be a go get ’em educator in the mold of Mr. Holland.
Instead, this is a quiet movie centered on small moments that collectively form something deep and profound: the moving portrait of the strong bond between a man in need of a purpose and children in search of some understanding.