Mr. Holland's Opus Movie Review

Out-and-out begging for an Oscar might have been more dignified than the brazen performance by Richard Dreyfuss in the title role of Mr. Holland's Opus. Here, Dreyfuss makes his bid for Oscar number two (he won in 1977 for The Goodbye Girl), and given the fare Hollywood has seen fit to throw us this year, I'll be surprised if he doesn't win.

Mr. Holland is, of all things, a lowly high school band teacher, and the film follows 30 years of his life, from 1965 to the present. Mr. Holland, in his first year of teaching, finds himself turning into that very thing which he detests, a dry and boring instructor who isn't getting through to the kids, so he decides to make a few changes in his teaching style to get the students involved and interested. Using all manner of unorthodox teaching methods, Mr. Holland eventually breaks through and becomes the darling of John F. Kennedy High School, and we see the profound effect he really does have on a number of his students.

The film is something akin to a series of vignettes, each profiling Mr. Holland's relationship with one student or another, most notably the driven yet apparently talentless Gertrude (Alicia Witt, who appears all too briefly) and vocal ingenue Rowena. All the while, Mr. Holland's own life seems to play second chair to his teaching. His own symphony goes virtually ignored, as does his family: his wife, Iris (Glenne Headly), and his deaf son, Cole.

Mr. Holland's Opus treats us to the transformation of the students without relying too much on the corny antics that similar films tend toward. Rather, the movie is filled with genuine, tearjerking emotion despite its often rambling 2 1/2 hour length, and we are constantly entertained by a number of moving performances of classic tunes and modern ones. The one over-the-top element of the picture is, of course, Dreyfuss, whose performance culminates in the singing of a heartfelt yet nearly unbearable rendition of John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy," dedicated to his estranged son. But you've gotta give him points for trying.

The integration of political messages and stock footage into the film is a bit distracting, as it is used to set the time frame and little more. But if you can get past this and let yourself slip into the web that Dreyfuss manages to weave, you'll find a heart of sincerity in this lazy, free-flowing, and only sometimes obvious picture. Be sure to bring a hanky.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : , , Robert W. Cort


Comments

Mr. Holland's Opus Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG, 1995

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

The comedy classic 'Mrs. Doubtfire' is reportedly set to return to the big-screen...

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Of Mice And Men premiered on Broadway last night, giving critics a chance to cast...

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'

Sofia Vergara has been speaking about her nerves at shooting a ménage a trois with...

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'


More recommendations