At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
Teacher François Marin and his colleagues are preparing for another school year teaching at a racially mixed inner city high school in Paris. The teachers talk to each other about their prospective students, both the good and the bad. The teachers collectively want to inspire their students, but each teacher is an individual who will do things in his or her own way to achieve the results they desire. They also have differing viewpoints on the students themselves, and how best to praise and discipline them. The administration of the school tries to be as fair as possible, which includes having student representatives sit on the student evaluation committee. Marin's class this year of fourteen and fifteen year olds is no different than previous years, although the names and faces have changed. Marin tries to get through to his students, sometimes with success and sometimes resulting in utter failure. Even Marin has his breaking point, which may result in him doing things he would ...Written by
I will start with saying that the subtitles made it difficult to understand the specifics of their dialogue. But notwithstanding, Entre Les Murs really feels like I've spent a year in the school with these students. We see the power structure between teachers, admin, and students. We see the problems and challenges that the system has. We also, more importantly, see the interpersonal relationships between the teachers and the students.
This movie doesn't sentimentalize or sugar-coat the learning experience. Lean On Me, this is not. This vision is as stark and cold as the fluorescent light bulbs above the class. The warmth, however brief, is provided by the students and their teachers.
I enjoyed the realistic acting. I never for once thought that I was anywhere else except for a real classroom. I enjoyed the characters, though I wish that I would be able to get in their heads more and see their motivation.
What I liked the most is that we saw an unbiased, holistic viewpoint of the school year. Some students learned a lot, some learned nothing, and life moves on like a soccer match in the school halls.
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