A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Even though the film is violent, the underscoring message is that perseverance and teamwork are important to rectifying societal issues.
Positive Role Models
Damien is a former cop who uses violence to fight through the drug ring that has killed his friend. Even though he's a violent man, he's portrayed as someone who uses violence for good, since he's trying to restore justice and save his friend's school from drugs and crime. He also teaches his class self-protection skills, which come in handy when they all take down the drug ring.
The film isn't racially diverse, but there's some exposure to Polish culture. Female characters aren't well-defined outside of their relationships to men, especially Damian's love interest, who acts less like a fellow teacher and more like a lovestruck student. Only one female character, a student, is portrayed as someone who isn't solely defined by male relationships.
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Violence & Scariness
Much of the film is comprised of fighting/violent scenes. In one scene, a character gets shot in the head. It's insinuated that Damian's love interest, a fellow teacher, was about to be sexually assaulted by a gang of students if Damian didn't arrive to fight them. Damian's friend, a history teacher, dies allegedly by suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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"F--k," "damn," "s--t," "f--king."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The villains are students and teachers who are part of a drug ring within the school. Discussions about drug use and addiction, as well as scenes with drinking and drug use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lesson Plan is a Polish thriller-action film about a former cop who finds out his friend, a history teacher, died under mysterious circumstances. He takes his friend's job at the school to investigate what led to his friend's death. The film includes numerous scenes with discussions and images of drug use and drinking. Much of the film is comprised of fighting/violent scenes. A character gets shot in the head. It's insinuated a woman was about to be sexually assaulted by a gang of students. Someone allegedly dies by suicide. Language includes "f--k," "damn," "s--t," and "f--king." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Lesson Plan is charming in the sense that it evokes a retro sense of the hero using martial arts to instill values into others around him. But overall, the film is bland at best, and confusing at worst. Why would a school randomly hire someone not qualified to be a teacher to fill a position? Why is Damian (Witkowski) trying to teach when he's not trained in history? Why is he using his teaching time to teach unauthorized jiu-jitsu classes? And why is his love interest Agata, another teacher at the school, less focused on teaching and more focused on being a stereotype of a feminine character defined by her status as a "love interest"?
Aside from these questions, the film might be enjoyable if you love films like these -- think Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris (who is name-checked in the film), or even Jackie Chan films. But if you aren't willing to turn off your brain and go along with standard action tropes, Lesson Plan might be a tedious watch for you.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.