Mr. Holland's Opus

 
A music teacher inspires his students.
  • Review Date: January 22, 2006
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 143 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Music and arts education are promoted heavily throughout the film, as are rights for the disabled. Mr. Holland is at times selfish and immature about his responsibilities, but learns to step up by the end.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

A brief discussion about sex. Two male students briefly walk in front of the camera holding hands.

Language

A character signs "a-hole" in sign language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film includes a lengthy subplot involving Mr. Holland's crush on one of his students. Although he does not act on his feelings, Mr. Holland condones her plan to skip town before high school graduation. Beyond this, there is little for parents to worry about. Cole calls Mr. Holland an a-hole in sign language. Mr. Holland and Iris have a brief discussion about sex. Two male students briefly walk in front of the camera holding hands.

What's the story?

In MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, Richard Dreyfuss plays Glenn Holland, a young, aspiring, composer and musician who takes a position teaching a high school music class in hopes of saving enough money to play as a career. When Glenn's wife (Glenne Headly) unexpectedly gets pregnant, reality sets in. He must put his dreams on hold and remain a teacher indefinitely. Over time, Glenn finds that he enjoys teaching and being a father. His worst fear is realized, however, when he learns that his son is deaf. Unable to accept his son's disability, Holland throws himself into his work, preferring to connect with his students instead of his own family. Eventually, Holland comes around, acknowledging his faults, and makes amends by designing a concert that both hearing and non-hearing audience members can enjoy. In the film's highly emotional climax, Glenn finally grasps the magnitude of his influence, as three generations of former students come together to honor him.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Less Stand and Deliver, more It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Holland's Opus offers a poignant (albeit sappy) look at personal sacrifice, responsibility, and the impact teachers can have on students beyond the classroom. Richard Dreyfuss gives the performance of his career as the wily, often frustrated Glenn Holland, breathing life into a character that could easily have fallen into caricature territory.

The film as a whole is not perfect. In its effort to portray Glenn as a flawed individual, the lengthy script sometimes goes too far, especially in regard to his inappropriate relationship with a student and his blatant disregard of Cole's social development. Despite these imperfections the movie is definitely worth watching, particularly during those moments of inspiration when Holland discovers his love of teaching.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about coping with disability, teachers who make a difference, and the importance of arts and music education. They can also discuss important events in history as they take place in the film, such as the death of a student in Vietnam and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon. Why does Mr. Holland react so severely when John Lennon dies? Is there a musician or music group that you feel that strongly about? In the film, Mr. Holland suggests that the roots of rock music lie in classical music. Parents may discuss with their kids how music from their generation has influenced current popular music. What do bands/musicians like The Strokes, Black Eyed Peas, and Kanye West have in common with The Kinks, Sly and the Family Stone, and Marvin Gaye?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 17, 1997
DVD release date:August 24, 1999
Cast:Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, Richard Dreyfuss
Director:Stephen Herek
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Drama
Topics:High school, Music and sing-along
Run time:143 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild language

This review of Mr. Holland's Opus was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Not a school Movie

This movie I don't believe is a good school movie because when we watched it the reactions of some kids were highly immature. I am in grade 7 and we watched it with grade 8's. When the gay guys were walking in front of the High-School some kids laughed and my friends dad is gay so she felt really left out. I would advise teachers not to play it in a school atmosphere with kids my age. (Around 12)
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion March 6, 2009
age 10+
 

A Moving and Meaningful Family Film...

Richard Dreyfuss is the best thing in MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS, a moving drama about a simple music teacher who impacts generations of children and learns his life has unexpected meaning. As the music teacher, Holland, Dreyfuss gives a wonderful performance, and he conveys the film's messages and morals perfectly. This is a great family film; you should overlook mild objectionable content simply because it is such a meaningful story. There is one "a*shole" is sign language, and Holland flirts with a beautiful student, who invites him to run away with her, but he declines. This is a wonderful family movie, and some corny moments pale in comparison to the moving and inspiring messages.
Written byAnonymous September 8, 2013
age 13+
 

High School Movie for 13+

This is a PG Rated Film. For 13+ People. I watched this when I was 15 & the movie is good too see. Positive Message 5/10: It's all about the music in this film. Sex 1/10: Just The Relationships that are in this film. Language 6/10: Just with MPAA's Warning for Mild Language. Overall 12/30: Great Film to see. A Music Class can all see. I really think this is a High School Movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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