Oscar Nom “Monsieur Lazhar” Opens @ Enzian Today (5 Stars)
For an unassuming Canadian film that the director Phillipe Falardeau probably never expected to gain much traction, this is something: two five star reviews from this paper. The first came two weeks ago, by John Thomason, when it played the Florida Film Festival. I also did one but was hesitant to give it five stars having only seen it once (we don’t do half stars, you might’ve noticed), but since seeing it again, I fully agree with John. It seems somewhat impossible that a drama about grade schoolers could have such depth, introspection and even enlightenment, but Falardeau worked some crazy magic here.
It starts a week-long run at the Enzian tonight.
Monsieur Lazhar – Phillipe Falardeau
By Rob Boylan
There is an awful lot of power at work just below the surface of Philippe Falardeau’s Oscar nominated grade school drama. After their teacher commits suicide in their classroom during recess, a class of 11 and 12 year olds have a tidal wave of unfamiliar feelings with confront with their new teacher, an earnest Algerian refugee who lied to get the position. Ernst Lubitsch always said let your audience add two and two together and they’ll love you for it, and that’s a lesson Falardeau learned well. He attacks the material with a stern yet soft touch, avoiding the obvious pitfalls, and Mohamed Fellag and youngsters Sophie Nélisse and Émilien Néron hand in equally impressive, subtle performances. (5 Stars)