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Monsieur Lazhar

During a harsh Montréal winter, an elementary-school class is left reeling after its teacher commits suicide. Bachir Lazhar, a charismatic Algerian immigrant, steps in as the substitute teacher for the classroom of traumatized children. All the while, he must keep his personal life tucked away: the fact that he is seeking political refuge in Québec – and that he, like the children, has suffered an appalling loss.
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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

50

The New Yorker by David Denby

The movie is so discreet and respectful that, outside the classroom, within whose walls the glory of French literature and language triumph, it never quite comes to life. [16 April 2012, p. 86]
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Time Out by Eric Hynes

Fellag does for the film what his Lazhar does for the pupils: He's soothing and entrancingly enigmatic enough to keep us fixed to our seats.
100

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Jennie Punter

It's an exquisite, humanistic and subtly topical work of cinema art that manages to keep the intimate, revelatory sensibility of a one-man play intact while fleshing out the characters and creating a very realistic and richly detailed school community.
63

Slant Magazine by Jesse Cataldo

There's great potential for the kind of issues that are taken on, but nothing is resolved, and the biggest questions, of guilt and shame, the gulf of understanding between the first world and the third, remain unengaged.
80

Boxoffice Magazine by Pete Hammond

The kids, especially Néron and Nélisse are irresistible and supporting players are well-cast. Human dramas like Monsieur Lazhar are a rare breed these days and this exceptional example is one to be cherished.
88

Miami Herald by Rene Rodriguez

Monsieur Lazhar doesn't send you home depressed. Instead, the film leaves you hopeful, and even exhilarated, that even the most painful wounds can sometimes heal.

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