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4.8 out of 5 stars88
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 December 2002
A little known feel good movie that makes you feel all warm and tingley (but not sick to your stomach).
Mister Holland's Opus follows the life of an aspiring composer who finds himself teaching high school to pay the bills before his first composition obviously makes him famous. However, as the years go by and his finished composition seems farther away, he manages to inadvertantly touch, inspire, change and mould many of the students that attend his classes.
Think Dead Poets Society without the tragedy.
Truely a little known gem.
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on 6 December 2003
Richard Dreyfuss never ceases to amaze me with how versatile he is. In 'Mr Holland's Opus' he portrays the fine quality of one of America's best actors. The movie reaches deep into your emotions. Finding those most sensitive feelings. The relationships between his family and his dream is finely balanced that it makes one experience his frustration as though it was ours. The movie is filled with joy, heatbreak laughter and tears. For me it was one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. Jean Louisa Kelly has only a small part. However she portrays her excellent talent to the full. I would love to see her starring in a modern musical. This girl has so much carisma that she melts your heart. One to buy and keep, so you can watch it over and over.
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How many "teachers save our youth" movies can you watch? "To Sir with Love", "Blackboard Jungle", "Saving Forester", and so on and so on. Since you ask, At least one more time.

Mr. Holland wants to write music and believes that teaching will give him the free time to compose. Slowly he gets sucked into the teaching environment and eventually this becomes his focus to the exclusion of his deaf son. Will he see what he is doing? Will he care? Or maybe skip town with a talented singer (Rowena)?

This well paced film that does not save hooligans but enriches an otherwise droll school experience and encourages more than just the basics.

A twist on the standard formula is the emphasis from the beginning on Holland more than a student or two. We see how he learns from the school environment and incorporates his life into the life of the school. Richard Dreyfuss being the main character may over shadow good acting by Olympia Dukakis and William H. Macy among others. There are several inspiring moments and some sobering moments.

In all it is worth the time and you will want to watch it again.
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on 22 October 2007
this is one of those films that after watching everything else in your dvd collection or at the cinema, you wish you had watched this 1 first. at first your not sure what to expect but for some reason you cant or dont want to turn it off, but i garuntee if you have the patience to watch this start to finish (odd scenes, but very powerful, meaningful, engrossing storylines) you will watch it again.
this is definetly a film for anybody with a passion for music, its about 1 mans triumph and persistance that against all the odds (even thoguh you know from about 20mins in) to show his passion for something to people who wouldn't necessarily be interested.
PLEASE jsut watch this film, i do and im sure 99% of others who have will promise you a good film.
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on 4 June 2010
God how I cried, I also got angry, it brought out so many emotions it hard to say which bit I liked best, a very good film tracking a music teachers life, the high's and the low's this is one film I pull out every month and watch again, I love a good cry. I didn't like Richard Dreyfuss before I watched this film now I don't miss anything with him in. for a music teacher to have a deaf son must have been hard, he thought that he couldn't share his passion with his son, that was wrong of him, but it all worked out in the end, watch it, this is a big recccommendation.
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on 20 March 2006
The blasé will say that this is one more film on the life and retirement of a good teacher. One more and nothing else. They would be slightly wrong. This film is a lot more interesting and profound than that. First of all it becomes personal and poignant when his own son is discovered to be 90% deaf at birth. For a musician and music teacher tbis is a tragic blow, even if Beethoven became deaf in his life. Then it shows that a good teacher is not supposed to caress the students in the smooth way of things, but he has to be both exacting and demanding on one side and on the other side helpful in the effort the students have to do to eventually come to the pleasure of becoming able to play beautiful music. And it takes a tremendous effort on the teacher’s part to be that inspiring and ruthless guide who will teach rhythm and drumplaying to a black man who will die in Vietnam, sentiment and clarinet playing to the only daughter of a family who has no creative dimension, emotion and how to sing with her heart to a girl who would like to take her music teacher along with her to New York. But furthermore the film is also a vast trip from the sixties to the nineties, from Kennedy to – the unnamed – Clinton, with the Vietnam war at the back, Hair, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Nixon resigning, Ford falling when walking down from a plane, Reagan and his famous Hollywood smile, and of course the severe cuts in education in the mid-nineties that led to dropping all artistic activities from the curriculum of the school. And we could go on and on with levels of meaning that avoid mish-mash sentimentalism. And yet the end is kind of too much. How can we imagine the school, the principal and the whole community who have rejected the man at sixty without more ado than for an insignificant incident come together to unanimously present him with a farewell present that should have asked months of secret preparation ? And that present means that this Mr Holland has sacrificed all his personal and musical potential for the sake of teaching music to kids, including his composing and his musical inspiration. This leads to the saddest fact of all : education is based on a frustrating dédication from the teachers. A dedication that verges onto sacrifice, of one’s own life and of one’s family’s life, and a frustration that stifles in the teacher what is his deepest and most insanely creative inspiration, which delivers him to retirement a hollow shell with an uncatchable ghost of a dead ambition. This film is thus very painful : as long as our school system will demand such sacrifices from its teachers it will lead to a deeply boring and frustrating education that will leave young people naked and unarmed in front of life when the real hardships of history come, and they always come back over and over again.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, Université Paris Dauphine, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne
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on 11 May 2003
A fantastically inspiring and touching film that reminds us all of what really matters in life. What else can I say? Have your tissues ready and enjoy...
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on 6 March 2016
I wasn't sure if my children (ages range from 7 to 13) would like it but I saw that it was rated PG and my children are musically inclined (one plays in an orchestra as well) so I took a chance and got them to try watching this film one rainy and cold Saturday afternoon. They all liked it, despite initial reservations about possible boredom levels because the movie is "acted out by real people" rather than the usual Tim Burton style or other 3D animation movies they love. The movie is long - all 2 hrs and nearly 20 mins of it - but amazingly, my kids never fell asleep nor lost interest. It's all pretty well-acted as well and the script is realistic; the drama belieavable and the music in the soundtrack beautiful. A tad sentimental in parts, but it added to the overall mood of the film.

It is inspirational. The message is that anyone can make something of themselves and live life with a strong and worthwhile purpose, regardless of what they were handed in life. I am glad my kids liked it and had a chance to see this amazing film. I last watched it in the 90s as a teenager and it left an impression on me. I remember it all these years though have forgotten the plot until I watched this again with my children.

They really don't make films like this anymore. And if I'd never shown it to them, I don't think they'd get a chance to. I'm willing to bet most young children of today have never and may never even hear of it.
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I saw this at the cinema in 1996, and I really enjoyed watching it over again when I got the DVD. This is a wonderful movie that has several important messages about life that - refreshingly - are shown, sometimes subtly, rather than told.

I think it's a movie that everyone should see at least once, on their own, or shared with friends or family.

Highly recommended!
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on 9 May 2014
Mr Holland’s Opus is a wonderful, ‘feel-good’ story about a young man who wants to compose music… but takes a job teaching music in a school to provide a reliable income. It’s only ever going to be temporary, or so he thinks at first. But the years roll by, and he finds himself more and more drawn into the life of the school, making an incredible difference to many of the students.

There’s a whole other storyline involving Mr Holland’s wife and son, which is incredibly moving, and brings tears to the eyes at times even seeing it for the second or third time.

If you like films with fast car chases, great excitement, sex and violence, then don’t bother with this. But for those who like a slower pace of life, who are interested in schools, or music, or great characterisation, I would highly recommend this. Mr Holland is played brilliantly by Richard Dreyfuss, as realistic at sixty as he is at the start of the film.
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