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The film captures how the constant turnover of students keeps educators poised between loss and rebirth, fuddy-duddyism and eternal kiddishness. That balance is there, most pleasurably, in Dreyfuss’ performance. The wonders of makeup and hairpieces have taken 20 years off his age, and his acting feels 20 years younger, too. He has an edgy vigor here that recalls his ebullient star turns of the late ’70s.
Richard Dreyfuss, who is sometimes too exuberant, here finds the right tones for Mr. Holland, from youthful cocksureness to the gentle insight of age. His physical transformations over 30 years are always convincing.
Mr. Holland's Opus is a glowing tribute to the unsung heroics of those rare, gifted teachers who make a difference in life. Richard Dreyfuss, in a performance that both touches and inspires, plays music teacher Glenn Holland.
Dreyfuss' exemplary performance shows how selfishly Holland neglects his own family in favour of his pupils, and it's clear how conservative politics impinge even on music classes. A middle-brow melodrama which functions as the thinking person's Forrest Gump. Music to my ears.
It's a symphony of solid storytelling and good feeling that pays tribute to Hollywood's rarely-seen, gentler side.
In Mr. Holland's Opus, Mr. Dreyfuss gives a warm and really touching performance. He's firmly in control of the film's comic moments and just as comfortable delivering the film's calculatingly Capraesque payoff: a good cry.
Forrest Gump lives in spirit in this overbearing tear-jerker that takes two and a half hours to cover three baby-boom decades in an effort to prove that nice guys finish first, at least in the hearts of academy voters.
Despite the schmaltz this reviewer lapped it up, not least for the engaging teens, including Alicia Witt, and the spectacle of Dreyfuss strutting his wily stuff to Louie, Louie.
An idealized tribute to a charismatic teacher who has devoted his entire life to music appreciation, Mr. Holland’s Opus has the same old-fashioned texture as Goodbye, Mr. Chips. Older audiences will be moved by the story, but the crucial variable is to what extent younger viewers will embrace this schmaltzy, Capraesque saga that’s not only set mainly in the past but also feels as if it were made back when.
A film of epically hollow sentimentality, a movie that tells you how to feel every step of the way and ends on a symphony of false notes. The moment when we learn what Mr. Holland's Opus really means makes the ending of It's a Wonderful Life look like an exercise in restraint.

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