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Mr. Holland's Opus (1996)

1 rating: 3.0
Drama and Kids & Family movie directed by Stephen Herek

An earnest and at times overblown story of a music teacher's impact on those around him,Mr. Holland's Opusis at times a genuinely touching drama in the vein ofIt's a Wonderful Life. Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws,Close Encounters of the Third Kind) plays … see full wiki

Director: Stephen Herek
Genre: Family, Drama
1 review about Mr. Holland's Opus (1996)

Magnum Opus

  • Jun 11, 2007
Without becoming breezy or overly sentimental, 'Mr. Holland's Opus' shows us the dilemma of many teachers. How does one juggle all of the piles of responsibility one is given, and how does one rise above the fray to achieve greatness? With many hurdles to overcome, Glenn Holland (in an extraordinary performance by Richard Dreyfuss) comes to Portland's Kennedy High School with the aspiration of employment filler with enough free time to compose his own music. Naive about the demands for extra-curriculars and student tutoring, Glenn, nevertheless, must reinvent the wheel and learn to accomodate his students by taking risks to win their love for music. Locking heads with the vice principal (played with perfect starchy officiousness by William Macy), he nearly loses his job and composure. At home his loving, understanding wife will stand by him, but plausibly loses patience when their own beloved son (who was born deaf) gets the shaft on some quality mentor time. Feeling his pain, we also are absorbed in the lives of key students (in fine early performances by Terrence Howard and [Forrest] Whitaker to name a couple). He gets reprieves with the football coach (Jay Thomas) who offers friendship and a spirited rivalry. With a rising starlet at his school and the soundtrack of their lives evolving to John Lennon, the poignancy of a man who has painted himself into a corner comes to roost.

'Mr. Holland's Opus' is as realistic as it is an emotional dead ringer. Admittedly, I prejudged this movie on the notion that it would be facile, cloying, or overly sentimental. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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