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Monsieur Lazhar (Philippe Falardeau, 2012)

Posted on the 17 April 2012 by Jake Cole @notjustmovies
I'm afraid I didn't particularly take to Monsieur Lazhar, the classroom drama that received an Academy Award nomination for best foreign-language film at this year's Oscars. Trying desperately to avoid the usual pitfalls of moralizing, treacly schoolyard films, Lazhar ultimately loses the thread of its subtle expression and simply treads water. It also makes obvious what had earlier been broached with such elegant subtlety that I couldn't help but feel let down by its lack of faith in the audience. Its resolution is easily uneasy, downbeat in that facile manner that strives for ambiguity but effectively seals off the narrative. There are some fine performances, but the whole failed to stay with me.
My full review is up now at Spectrum Culture.

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