Mr. Hollands Opus

Tagline : Of All the Lives He Changed, the One That Changed the Most Was His Own.

Runtime : 143 mins

Genre : Drama Music

Vote Rating : 7/10

Budget : 31 million $ USD

Revenue : 106.3 million $ USD

Plot : In 1965, passionate musician Glenn Holland takes a day job as a high school music teacher, convinced it's just a small obstacle on the road to his true calling: writing a historic opus. As the decades roll by with the composition unwritten but generations of students inspired through his teaching, Holland must redefine his life's purpose.

Cast Members


***Taking a bypass from your dreams and finding your true calling*** A composer (Richard Dreyfuss) puts his lofty ambitions on hold to become a high school music teacher in Portland, Oregon, from 1965-1995. Glenne Headly plays his wife, Jay Thomas the coach, Olympia Dukakis the principal and William H. Macy the irritating vice principal. "Mr. Holland’s Opus" (1995) is a good school-oriented drama that’s episodic in nature since it spans 30 years. The first 40 minutes were decent, but I was wondering if the film would be able to absorb me into its story, especially considering its considerable length. It did, particularly the episodes concerning Terrence Howard (playing Louis Russ) and angelic Jean Louisa Kelly (Rowena). The movie’s kind of a meshing of “Dead Poets Society” (1989) crossed with “Forrest Gump” (1994), although not great like either of those flicks. But it’s a solid drama. A 19 year-old Alicia Witt is on hand as one of the students in the first act. The film runs 2 hours, 23 minutes and was shot in Portland, Oregon, and nearby Marylhurst. GRADE: B

**Another good film about an outstanding teacher marking the lives of his students... another one.** One of the things I like most about a film, in addition to telling a good story and positively entertaining us for an hour or two, is to reflect on different subjects and themes. This exercise of critical questioning, free and reachable to the public, much more attractive than a six-hundred-page book, is one of the most important qualities of cinema. And this film has lots of themes and topics worthy of our reflection. First, I should say that the film is very good! It is very forgotten today and deserves to be revisited. It is, I think, the best film of Stephen Herek, an average director, more focused on TV, actually. The merit of the film falls, largely, on the great quality of the script by Patrick Sheane Duncan, who created the story of a composer who becomes a music teacher at a high school to earn some income and ends up marking several generations of students, teaching them to love music while trying to protect and support their own son, who was born deaf. In addition to a deep and moving story, we have good actors working in a very committed way: Richard Dreyfuss may be an actor who is a little far from the spotlight, but he gives us an extraordinary performance in this film and was nominated for the Oscar (he lost to Nick Cage, who shone in “Leaving Las Vegas” in a more psychologically challenging role). Glenne Headly and a young Terrence Howard gave him welcome and very solid support. The film moves us with its story, highlighting the importance of music and the relevance of artistic education. In a society where, more and more, we are appreciated for the money we earn to our employers (or companies, or countries), the arts and human sciences (history and philosophy, for example) are underappreciated because they are considered to have very few professional opportunities and practical applicability. The situation could not be more unfair: the human sciences teach us to think, to have a critical conscience and a vast general culture, while the arts transmit us an aesthetic sense and a capacity for self-expression that, unlike writing, tends to be universally intelligible. It's a shame that human resources directors often turn out to be such obtuse people, with such short horizons. The film addresses deafness in an interesting way, showing us that even a deaf person can appreciate music and that deafness is no impediment to an active and happy life. The film has only two major problems: the first problem, and for me the most serious, is falling back on the older clichés about school films involving teachers, and all the impact they have. This was done, much more effectively, in “Dead Poets Society” and “Mona Lisa Smile”. At this point, the most essential of the plot, there is nothing original. The second problem is that unreasonable romantic tension between Holland and one of his young and seductive students. We all know that the relationship between a student and her teacher is one of the most appealing erotic fantasies among middle-aged men, and I can understand why they included that sub-plot, but it's beside the point and should never have been included in the final cut.

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