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The Class

Posted by martinteller on June 11, 2011

What a fascinating film, both in content and creation.  François Bégaudeau wrote an autobiographical novel about his experiences as a high school teacher, and stars as a version of himself teaching students, non-professional actors playing versions of themselves, in a largely improvised setting.  The students are difficult but not monsters.  The teacher is well-meaning but far from perfect.  This is no Mr. Holland’s Opus, no Emperor’s Club, thank heavens no Dead Poets Society.  It all feels very, very genuine, real people dealing with real problems and often coming up short.  It’s absolutely gripping from start to finish, the documentary style provides an intimacy that immediately plunges you into the lives of both the staff and the children.  By the end, there isn’t a single one you don’t care about.  The verisimilitude is so great that I did feel a bit disappointed in the moments where I could sense the writer’s hand at work.  Fortunately, there weren’t many of those moments and for the most part I was thoroughly impressed with this film that left me with so much to think about.  As the ex-husband of a teacher, and with many teachers in my own family, the movie struck close to home.  Rating: 9


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