Film Review: "Monsieur Lazhar" is a lesson in healing
"Monsieur Lazhar," is the fourth film by Canadian writer and director, Philippe Falardeau. It is based on a stage play written by Evelyne de la Cheneliere. The story takes place during a snowy winter in a public school in Montreal, Quebec where a class of sixth graders are coming to terms with their own grief from the unexpected loss of a much loved teacher. They find solace in an unsuspecting candidate who believes he has arrived "at the right place at the right time" only to discover that the task at hand is intricately more complex than he anticipated forcing him to address dark issues of his own.
Eloquent and beautifully acted, this is an understated film with incredibly powerful performances. In particular, are the portrayals by the young actors who play the repressed students attempting to juggle the uncomfortable emotionally driven adult themes they are dealt. Rich in authenticity, it's an crucial observation of how ineffective talking at students is instead of talking with them during crucial moments in life.