Mr. Holland’s Opus

About a week ago I watched a movie called Mr. Holland’s Opus, with Richard Dreyfuss. I am never into orchestra and classical music as such, but this movie got me. I was stuck with a lump in my throat and there is a personal reason for that.

The movie is about Mr. Holland who starts his new job as the music teacher in the 60s at the school. The movie spans about 30 years into his life of teaching the students. From the 60s to the 90s, we get to see how classical music becomes more of a challenge to teach. Mr. Holland is asked each year to prepare the music class to perform at the end of each school year, and with each passing year it becomes more difficult because the beauty and the meaning of classical music diminishes each year, as rock and roll and rap are introduced. But Mr. Holland is as obsessed with classical music as he was in the 60s. He goes out of his way to encourage the students to do their best. He helps one female student to learn to play the clarinet effectively. He helps one football player student to learn to play the drums for the marching band. He helps another student learn how to sing better for the school play. He is there to help his music students realize their dreams.

However, tragedy strikes when he and his wife realize that their son is born deaf. Mr. Holland is devastated. He had dreams of teaching his son music. His son cannot hear a single note of music. There is some tension in the married couple. Mr. Holland focuses his energy toward his students, not acknowledging his deaf son. His wife spends time with their son. But it is right before the end, where I became emotional. Mr. Holland, realizing that he has been neglecting his son for far too long, performs for the school, which includes students from the School of Deaf. His son is sitting there. The band starts to play, and Mr. Holland starts to sing. But when he starts to sing, he uses his hands to communicate to the deaf students. The scene was amazingly touching, it gave me goosebumps. I knew how much it would mean for the son to be able to connect with dad, and it was so awesome for the dad to connect to his son this way. After all, the song he sings is dedicated to his son.

I wont give the ending away, which is extremely touching and heartwarming, yet sad. Some people did not like the ending, but then if you pick the smallest of small details, no movie is perfect. Dreyfuss was nominated for Best Actor award in the Oscars. I think this is his best performance to date. Well, why was I so emotional at that one scene. Its because I am also 90% deaf and I know excatly how deaf people feel. For someone to touch out to the deaf people like Mr. Holland did, is the best gift one can get!

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