Making the Grades
Think of the last time you saw a hard working dedicated teacher portrayed in the media. Teachers are often depicted as fools while wisecracking students are the mainstay of television and movie classrooms. At times the classroom is ignored completely, as stories focus on the school environment -- a meeting place where education takes a back seat to dealing drugs and discussing sexual topics.
Mr. Holland's Opus is a rare movie that puts teachers in the front of the class, and shows the important role these dedicated people hold in our lives. In the movie, Mr. Glen Holland (Richard Dreyfuss), is a young composer who is forced to go find a day job. Reluctantly, he accepts a position as a music teacher in a high school, with hopes to return to full time composing in a few years. Three decades and hundreds of students later, Glen is still waiting for the chance to compose his symphony.
Besides helping us appreciate teachers, Holland's Opus helps us realize that the most important accomplishments in our lives are frequently not the ones we set out to achieve. As John Lennon aptly penned in his song Beautiful Boy (which Dreyfuss sings in this movie), "Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans."
This movie is probably not appropriate for young children due to some mild profanity and the nature of the story. Without experiencing the toils of high school, there will be little to relate to. But for teens and especially adults, Holland's Opus brings Capra's It's A Wonderful Life into the realm of the 1990's and reaffirms the definition of great cinema. The performances by Dreyfuss and the many others who worked on this film, are nothing short of excellent. The mood, attention to detail, directing -- it's all here. If you missed the opportunity of seeing this movie in the theatre, this is your chance to view my choice for the best film of 1995. You can't watch this movie without feeling just a little better about life.