Monsieur Lazhar

Quiet, thoughtful, and touching, Monsieur Lazhar tells the story of a substitute teacher from Algeria who takes over a grade school class whose teacher committed suicide. The title character came to Montreal as a refugee and his immigration status is precarious.

I soon got pulled into this film in a way that’s rare when I watch a Hollywood film. It’s less predictable or high octane. The characters seemed very real, especially the children whose dialog was authentic. Too often child actors are given absurd lines only someone over 30 would come up with.

Monsieur Lazhar reminded me of The Class, a.k.a.Entre les Murs, another film set in a school, which was well worth watching.