The film resonates, I believe, because it brings up themes that are central to everyone’s lives. We all long for that perfect combination of direction and acceptance from those in authority, which some call “mentoring.” I believe it’s a hunger for God which He gives us, so that we will seek out not only Him, but others who mirror these godly qualities. And so, it is no surprise that another film which deals with teachers and students, and the powerful relationship that they can have, has once again become a favorite. What is different, this time around, is that the film is set in France, after WWII, but that only gives it increased poignancy.

Even those who abhor subtitles will appreciate this film, which can open up interesting avenues of discussion about the role of the arts in education, our local communities and even our hearts.

AUDIENCE: Mature teens and adults


  • Drugs/Alcohol Content:   Characters smoke throughout the film; characters drink wine during meal.

  • Language/Profanity:  Approximately a half-dozen obscenities; several obscene sexual references (mostly in songs) that are severely rebuked by teachers.

  • Sexual Content/Nudity: One reference by a teacher to “none of that,” implying feared (but unwarranted) situation of pedophilia; boys are briefly seen in pajamas and underwear.

  • Violence:  Children are severely punished (spanked, slapped) to the consternation of other teachers; in one scene a student is repeatedly and abusively slapped by headmaster; in another, a student prank leaves a teacher injured (including some blood); students hit one another in jest.