Monsieur Lazhar review

After their teacher's suicide, a grieving class gets an unlikely replacement in Algerian immigrant Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag). Philippe Falardeau’s intricate drama (a Best Foreign Language Film nominee) inverts ‘inspirational teacher’ clichés; Lazhar’s as troubled as his pupils but touchy-feely sentiment is actively thwarted by a ban on teacher/student contact.

The result is a shrewd look at classroom etiquette and an achingly sad study of grief-stricken solitude, built on ace performances by Fellag and the kids-especially 11-year-old scene stealer Sophie Nélisse.


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