Metascore
92

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    The movie is bursting with life, energy, fears, frustrations and the quick laughter of a classroom hungry for relief.
  2. This is one of the screen's most rewarding explorations of the teacher/student relationship in any language.
  3. 100
    I was much more disheartened leaving the movie the first time I saw it than I was the second. Its richness resides in its apparent objectivity. Without sacrificing a sense of hope, Cantet suggests that the school system is just like a certain vexing grammatical tense: imperfect but still fighting against irrelevance.
  4. 100
    The Class ranks with the very best films ever made about teaching, and it's unlike any English or American film about teaching ever made.
  5. The young cast, all nonactors who developed their characters with Cantet and Bégaudeau, brings the weight of full lives to each of the students.
  6. Cantet's real-time classroom scenes are revelations: They make you understand that teaching is moment to moment, an endless series of negotiations that hang on intangibles—on imagination and empathy and the struggle to stay centered. This is a remarkable movie.
  7. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    100
    This unassuming movie will nail you to your seat.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    100
    It is hard to think of another film more tightly autobiographical than this one. It's even harder to think of other films that build so gripping a narrative out of a string of comparatively minor and disparate incidents.
  9. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    100
    Talky in the best sense, the film exhilarates with its lively, authentic classroom banter while its emotional undercurrents build steadily but almost imperceptibly over a swift 129 minutes. One of the most substantive and purely entertaining movies in competition at Cannes this year.
  10. The Class is clearly a microcosm of contemporary France, beset by social and economic tensions. More than that, though, it's a saga of education's struggles in many parts of the modern world. If only the film were pure fiction.
  11. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    100
    The Class is not just the best film released thus far this year. It may be the most gripping.
  12. 100
    I would be surprised if this brilliant and touching film didn't become required viewing for teachers all over the United States. Everyone else should see it as well--it's a wonderful movie.
  13. Wherever you were schooled, in public schools or private, in the slums or in the suburbs, you will recognize yourself in this film and laugh and beam and cower.
  14. 91
    The beauty of The Class is that it puts the lie to the one-teacher-can-make-a-difference myth propagated by so many other films.
  15. 90
    The Class is a lovely, exhilarating work about the ways in which failure and frustration can open the pathways through which we make sense out of life.
  16. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    90
    For anyone who loves language, this cut-and-thrust is a heady delight, so rich and free-flowing in its rhythms that it's hard to decide whether what we're seeing is a vérité-style documentary or a realist drama.
  17. The reality of François' classroom is so intense that it holds our interest even while the film's dramatic focus is building so quietly under the surface that we don't notice it at first.
  18. Here Mr. Cantet -- whose earlier features include "Human Resources" and "Time Out," two other dramas about systems of power -- has done that rarest of things in movies about children: He has allowed them to talk.
  19. The keen observations of The Class ultimately become a remedial education in themselves.
  20. 88
    Fierce, funny and moving, The Class graduates with honors. It's unmissable.
  21. French movies are not so neatly resolved. In fact, the point of many French movies, such as this provocative one from director Laurent Cantet, is that some problems don't have satisfying solutions - or resolutions.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    The Class is a deeply moving film about the challenges of educating children in a complex and often turbulent world.
  23. 88
    Considering the strength of performances given by the 25-or-so teenage actors portraying the students, it's amazing that none of them have previous experience.
  24. 83
    A modestly scaled, sharply observed film.
  25. 80
    Most impressive, Cantet tracks the racial and ethnic resentments that simmer beneath the classroom discussions but become harder to quell when the parents get involved.
  26. 75
    Skillfully straddles an intriguing line between reality and fiction.
  27. 75
    The Class offers no Hollywood ending, but is rewarding for those up to the challenge.
  28. This is the most realistic film about teaching that you're ever likely to see.
  29. The Class is simultaneously old school and new, familiar in its themes but unique in design and, at its best, riveting in execution.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  1. Oct 14, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This movie is not made for entertainment or for enjoyment, it is made to be a representation to the world of the difficulties of being a teacher in a French education environment. I am a student and found it mediocre as it was so accurate to a classroom situation. I appreciate this and I believe that this film explores the classroom atmosphere in a naturalistic sense without showing any extremes and still while highlighting key flaws that can occur anywhere, neither does it preach these flaws or show any resolve it just shows them. This is a brave move for any film writer and this is why it is so highly praised by the critics as they appreciate this courage and also find the film captivating in its unresolved nature. Full Review »
  2. Aug 26, 2010
    10
    A fresh dose of authenticity makes all of the situations and struggles found in "The Class" all the more compelling. In an age when the education system is overcome with scrutiny and pessimism against both teachers and students, the movie shows that we have to give it more than hope for it to survive - we have to give it constant dedication. I'd definitely recommend the movie to anyone who's a teacher or planning to teach. Full Review »
  3. JamesG
    Oct 1, 2009
    5
    Some interesting scenes and a lot of comic value from the terrible dubbing.

    But above all this movie shows why classroom instruction is a
    terrible way to educate kids. It provides the illusion of education but no learning. The social context takes over and the material is an obstacle to be avoided. It isn't about learning, its about students and teachers making each other miserable. Real learning comes from books, experience, videos, tutoring, or tests. If I were teaching the class in the movie, I would devote all class time to testing, quizzes, worksheet, etc. It's the only way to get the kids to shut up and learn.

    The movie also illustrates the comical unwillingness of educators to face reality. There is a teacher talking about what books to assign the kids, "I was thinking of starting them on Voltaire".
    Full Review »