REALYN C. CABATAY
Master of Arts in Education
Mr. Holland's Opus is a 1995 American drama film directed by Stephen Herek. It stars Richard Dreyfuss in the title role and the cast includes Glenne Headly, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy and Jay Thomas. Mr. Holland's Opus is presented as a video biography of the 30-year career of the eponymous lead character, Glenn Holland, as a music teacher at the fictional John F. Kennedy High School in Portland, Oregon. Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) is a musician and composer. After playing clubs for a living he decides to accept a job as a music teacher at a high school. He intends this to be a short term proposition until he puts together enough money to allow him to pursue his first love, composing, full time. Initially he finds it tough going, as the students have no real interest in his classes and the school orchestra, which he conducts, is absolutely awful. The gruff but earnest Principal, Ellen Jacobs (Olympia Dukakis), keeps Mr. Holland on the right path while the taciturn and puritanical Vice Principal, Gene Wolters (William H. Macy), has a problem with his use of Rock and Roll in teaching music appreciation. Despite the obstacles, Holland succeeds in building a rapport with his students who come to appreciate his unstinting efforts to help them. When his wife, Iris (Glenne Headly), announces that she is pregnant, he is initially taken aback as the realization dawns that this short term teaching gig looks like turning into a career. The arrival of their son, Coltrane (played by Nicholas John Renner as a child, Joseph Anderson as a teenager, and Anthony Natale and as an adult) is a joyful occasion but joy turns to sadness when they learn that their son is profoundly deaf. As Holland is unable to effectively communicate with his son, this leads to a rift developing between them and puts Iris in the position of being the go-between, mediator, and translator of their relationship.
This is without doubt an extremely involving and moving story which still manages to stay on the right side of being considered overly sentimental. Be warned, though, that it's unlikely that you are going to be able to sit through this without shedding a tear or two at the very least and it is even possible that you'll be shedding a whole lot more than that. Without giving any more of the plot away, there are several very touching moments that will be tugging at your heart strings as Holland composes his "Opus", although not the musical one that he dreams of, but rather the one that is his life.
In 1996 Richard Dreyfuss received Best Actor nominations for this role for both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Although he didn't win, there is absolutely no doubt that he has put in a superb effort in this film. A special mention must be made of Jean Louisa Kelly, who plays student Rowena Morgan, for her absolutely stunning rendition of Someone To Watch Over Me.
In 1964, Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) is a talented musician and composer who has been relatively successful in the exhausting life of a professional musical performer. However, in an attempt to enjoy more free time with his young wife, Iris (Glenne Headly), and to enable him to compose a piece of orchestral music, the 30-year-old Holland accepts a teaching position. Unfortunately for Holland, he is soon forced to realize that his position as a music teacher makes him a marginalized figure in the faculty's hierarchy. He comes face to face with how seriously he is outranked by the high school's football coach; interestingly, the coach (Jay Thomas) becomes a close friend. Administrators either dislike him, as does assistant principal Gene Wolters (William H. Macy), or push him relentlessly, as does principal Helen Jacobs (Olympia Dukakis). Holland's lack of quality time with Iris becomes more...
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