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Louanne Johnson is an ex-marine, hired as a teacher in a high-school in a poor area of the city. She has recently separated from her husband. Her friend, also teacher in the school, got the temporary job for her. After a terrible reception from the students, she tries unconventional methods of teaching (using karate, Bob Dylan lyrics etc) to gain the trust of the students. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
When this movie was first released, I refused to line up and watch it. I thought it was another of those simplistic and "popular" - love the teacher, fight delinquency - movies. In fact I refused to be taken for granted by clever Hollywood people who, usually, produce very "sweet" and "educative" movies. Well, a couple of years later, while I was refurbishing my own movie collection I stumbled on a special LaserDisc sale and bought this one as well (just to see what all the fuzz about it was really about). First of all, I was amazed to know that it is based on a true story, just like "Lean on me" and what caught my attention was that the teacher in question didn't belong to that profession: she was a discharged and unemployed USMC officer. I expected a war between her and the pupils she would "drill". What I received in return was an education on how one can be prejudiced, in more than just one way... Having served in the Swiss Army and having been a teacher myself, I could really empathize with the Character played by Michelle Pfeiffer. My first teaching approach, unlike hers, was disastrous to say the least... The entire movie deals with LITTLE, REAL, EVERYDAY problems and not with the big issues of life and this is probably why this movie was summarily discarded as being second rate. But when we consider how children consider and perceive our world nowadays, it's exactly what they expect us, the adults, to do as well. That's to say, take our time to explain to them the everyday happenings in their little worlds. Why mom and dad went their separate ways, why do they have to cope with homework they cannot understand and so on and so forth. This movie is a teaching lesson for teachers, not a moralizing or preachy one. It shows us how it should be done, nothing more. In Drama one says "less is more", why shouldn't it apply to life? We always want to set standards and a higher example to the students we are supposed to tutor, but what about our commitment to give them what they really want: lend them an ear when they talk, a heart when they feel sorrow, and sometimes, when required, a firm authority to look up to? Many colleagues I have met have forgotten what teaching is all about. It's not a simple profession to earn your life, it's much more than this, it's a mission, a passion, a drive, a call, just like the one an actor or a director have. In this instance in my own opinion, "Dangerous Minds" has amply achieved its goals. For the detractors of this tiny movie I would suggest to take a better and closer look, they might still learn something... But please, take your time and concentrate on it. This is really not a "Popcorn" and "Beer" movie.
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