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Monsieur Lazhar - Film Review

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by Richard Leathem (subscribe)
Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
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Monsieur Lazhar opens with the kind of confronting scene that abruptly arrests your attention. It introduces a premise ripe with dramatic consequences.

Among those dealing with the consequences are a classroom of 11 and 12 year olds, who range from the endearingly precocious to the painfully sullen. It's clear from the beginning that the titular teacher is going to have his work cut out for him.

This French Canadian production, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year, touches on some pretty heavy themes: the ramifications of physical contact with children, the plight of asylum seekers and the after effects of a person's suicide, to name a few. It juggles these issues with delicacy and creates an impact through small details and quiet moments.

Its a handsome looking film, full of warmth, humour and sadness, and features extraordinarily natural performances from all of the children. Yet despite its merits, the finale doesn't quite build to the emotional crescendo it's reaching for.

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Why? Oscar nominated French Canadian film full of warmth and humour.
Where: At selected cinemas around the country
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