Mr. Holland's Opus

"Very Good"

Mr. Holland's Opus 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.



Mr. Holland's Opus

Facts and Figures

Run time: 143 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th January 1996

Production compaines: Hollywood Pictures, The Charlie Mopic Company, Interscope Communications, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Robert W. Cort

Starring: as Glenn Holland, as Iris Holland, as Bill Meister, as Principal Helen Jacobi, William H. Macy as Vice Principal Gene Wolters, as Gertrude Lang, Nicholas John Renner as Cole Holland ( mit 6. Jahren ), Joseph Anderson as Cole Holland ( mit 15 Jahren ), as Cole Holland ( mit 28 Jahren ), Jean Louisa Kelly as Rowena Morgan, as Louis Russ

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.