Review: The Class

Entre Les Murs | Laurent Cantent, 2008

Whenever a movie about a teacher and a class is made, it is some sort of inspirational story about how all the kids are on their way to destroying their lives and how one teacher is able to completely changer their lives during one school year. Some of them are good, but ultimately their predictability takes away from the experience. The Class was not like that at all, and it made for an unforgettable, unique experience.

The movie follows Francois Marin (Francois Begaudau), a French teacher, through a school year and a group of students. This particular group of students is made up of 13-14 year old of many races and personalities and they act like regular students of their age group. Some of them talk back at the teacher whenever they are asked to do something, some just don’t listen, some don’t come prepared to class, and some are just smart.

The main reason why this movie is so good is it’s screenplay. Based on the autobiography by Begaudau, the dialogue here, as well as the scene set up, feel so natural. At some point during the movie I felt like I had heard some  of these conversations before, because that is what students do tend to talk about in class. It is the most realistic movie about teacher/student relationships I’ve ever seen.

The direction also adds to the realism of the movie. Cantent’s decision to shoot the movie with a documentary feel to it was the best he could make because that puts the audience in the middle of all the debates and conversations. In short, it makes you feel like you were back in school. Plus, all the other scenes with the teachers and the meetings give you a great insight into the world of teachers that most of us did not know.

The Class is an amazing movie. The script, the direction, and natural performances from the entire cast makes this the best and most unique movie about the interactions between students and teachers. One of the best movies of the decade.

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