To mon­sieur, with love

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES - LEIGH PAATSCH

THOUGH the hurt­ing is in plen­ti­ful sup­ply, it is all about the heal­ing in this sin­cerely mov­ing class­room drama from Canada.

A group of pri­mary school­ers reel­ing from the tragic death of their favourite teacher is gen­tly guided through the mourn­ing process by a mys­te­ri­ous new staff mem­ber.

Lazhar ( Mo­hamed Fel­lag, above with one of the students) is an Al­ge­rian refugee who has bluffed his way into a teach­ing job, but is blessed with a gift to con­nect with students that puts his bet­ter qual­i­fied peers to shame.

The film pro­ceeds at a de­lib­er­ately slow pace for its first hour, fo­cus­ing largely on the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the demise of Lazhar’s pre­de­ces­sor.

The cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the in­ci­dent, which can­not be dis­cussed here, wields a pro­found im­pact upon the chil­dren.

Though psy­chi­a­trists and coun­sel­lors are brought in to of­fer sup­port, there is a lin­ger­ing numb­ness only Lazhar can cut through.

The real rea­son for his abil­ity to feel, ab­sorb and erad­i­cate the sor­row of his students is kept a se­cret from ev­ery­one, and turns out to be the most heart­break­ing as­pect of the film.

Exquisitely acted ( es­pe­cially by the younger cast mem­bers) and scripted, this Os­carnom­i­nated pro­duc­tion is a gen­uinely af­fect­ing and mem­o­rable screen ex­pe­ri­ence.

Now show­ing State Cinema

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