When a Montreal school is rocked by the suicide of one of its teachers, Algerian immigrant Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) steps in and is hired as her replacement. While helping his pupils cope with traumatisation, his own losses and secrets are slowly exposed.
Fellag is superb as the near-unmoveable Lazhar, as he brings a humane representation to the multilayered character. But it’s the kids who are at the true heart of the film, each bringing their own distinct and identifiable personalities and witticisms to the drama.
Monsieur Lazhar unarguably recites a profound tale, it is very gripping in the first 30 minutes and though it diverges a little bit somewhere amongst the real hulk of the story, it easily regains its momentum at the close. Poignant, memorable and truly moving. ****
Written by Goldie Hong