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Jean Louisa Kelly
Glenn Holland is a musician and composer who takes a teaching job to pay the rent while, in his 'spare time', he can strive to achieve his true goal - compose one memorable piece of music to leave his mark on the world. As Holland discovers 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans' and as the years unfold the joy of sharing his contagious passion for music with his students becomes his new definition of success. Written by
I remember seeing "Mr. Holland's Opus" for the first time in high school. I liked it then, and still do. Films about teaching often involve tough kids and less than ideal teachers, among other things. I have to say this film is an exception. Mr. Holland is an inspiration in so many ways that he does not realize or even want to acknowledge. It is also a story that could have taken place and that some people can relate to. This is why I enjoyed it so much.
Mr. Holland has a dream of composing a very memorable and moving symphony, and to ultimately be "rich and famous." But working odd jobs in pursuit of his dream doesn't appeal to him. Reluctantly, he takes a day job as a high school music teacher to support the family and at first hates it. His students are not motivated to learn through readings and tests, and do not respond well to the music of Bach. When he finds they love rock and roll, he integrates this into the curriculum, much of the disapproval of the administration, who believe "rock and roll by its very nature leads to a breakdown in discipline." He teaches and mentors many students over the years, from a clarinet student who doubts her talent and feels inferior to her musically talented family, to a wrestler who becomes a drummer, and a talented singer with her eye on him who wants to go to Broadway despite any barriers. Whether or not he knows it, Mr. Holland inspires them to do something worthwhile.
Despite his love and talent for teaching, Mr. Holland cannot develop this same level of rapport and love with his wife Iris and son Cole, who is deaf. His desire for Cole to appreciate music is outweighed by Cole's inability to hear and his father's reluctance to help him. Cole learns sign language from his teachers and mother predominantly. Mr. Holland appears to be the kind of person who detests imperfection of any kind, and this strains his familial relationships. Gradually, though, he learns to accept and deal with these challenges, and becomes more loving and appreciative.
I recommend "Mr. Holland's Opus" for musicians, singers, music teachers, and really everyone. Enjoy the show!
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