Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

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  • Summary: François and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighborhood. Armed with the best intentions, they brace themselves to not let discouragement stop them from trying to give the best education to their students. Cultures and attitudes often clash in the classroom, a microcosm of contemporary France. As amusing and inspiring as the teenaged students can be, their difficult behavior can still jeopardize any teacher's enthusiasm for the low-paying job. François insists on an atmosphere of respect and diligence. Neither stuffy nor severe, his extravagant frankness often takes the students by surprise. But his classroom ethics are put to the test when his students begin to challenge his methods. (Sony Classics) Expand
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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Matthew Sorrento
    The Class is a one-trick show: once you spot its approach, the narrative falls into a routine. To the "nsiders," the film is as familiar as an an aerial virtual reality ride would be to an airplane pilot. (This is hardly a surprise, since Bégaudeau was himself once an insider, though now safe in a film critic's chair.)

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 7 out of 32
  1. JJR
    Jan 31, 2009
    This was truly an amazing film. Incredibly rewarding and challenging, it leaves a lot to think about after the credits roll.
  2. BillD.
    Mar 1, 2009
    I was totally absorbed in this movie. It was a 130- minute escape from the world that seemed more like 90 minutes. This movie is special.
  3. Aug 26, 2010
    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. Collapse
  4. John
    Aug 21, 2009
    Lots of Pros and Cons. The authenticity is great. But as someone who observes teachers all day, what struck me was that he was not really a very good teacher. There are teacher who would have created a much more positive and productive climate. Lecture and discussion is a really limited instructional approach. I observe in the most challenging schools in LA and I see teachers that have 0 problems with students and others who seem to be living in a war zone with the same students. This school in France is really typical, in that it is not that great. The solutions and the cleverness do not include any really good ideas or lead to any real answers. The acting in the movie is amazing. The kids were remarkable. But this is not a slice of life movie, it is slice of life in the class of a teacher who is creating his own struggles, dramas and perpetual difficulties. The movie about the teacher who got this same group of kids to work in teams and invest in meaningful work and refrained from all the negativity, would never be made it would be too uneventful and would seem unrealistic. But I was in a class today that was in inner city LA, with much lower income students and all the students were happy, on task and positive. This movie is to teaching what "Revolutionary Road" is to relationships. A good relationship or a good class is just not that interesting, but it is possible and it is much more fun to be involved in. Expand
  5. ThomasB.
    Mar 6, 2009
    The Class is a decent enough film. However, it's biggest pro is also one of its biggest cons. It captures a school room perfectly but, in doing so, borders on the realm of uninteresting. That said, there are a few very well acted and some very, genuinely amusing moments. It's a film where nothing happens, there's no REAL ongoing plot, there's no resolution in the film. By the end, you're obviously supposed to fill in the blank of "what happens next" but you really won't care because none of the students are particularly memorable or, again, interesting. It will polarise viewers, but it is, at least, an watchable and will definitely have fans. Expand
  6. ZachC
    Mar 14, 2009
    Too little interest in too long a span of time. The display of interactions between the teacher and his students was accurate, and amusing at times, but there was nothing profound or even novel about the story, such as it was, to warrant these kind of rave reviews. Tolerable, but very forgettable. Expand
  7. PerrT.
    Feb 15, 2009
    Boring - had to fight to stay awake. what are the critics thinking -- do they have a clue about what drama is? felt like my entire high school experience crammed into one protracted evening. metacritic let us down!!!!!! [ed: talk to the critics] Expand

See all 32 User Reviews


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