Mr. Holland’s Opus: A Movie Review

Genre: Classics
*** I’m posting this reflection paper I submitted last semester in my subject Principles of Guidance and Counseling.

Jennifer L. Aspacio Educ 321
Dr. Lerma G. Pasco

This movie is amongst the ranks of movies like Stand and Deliver, Dangerous Minds, et al. These kind of movies continually inspire individuals to go beyond the level of mediocrity.

The movie started off with Richard Dreyfuss’ first day of teaching in John F. Kennedy High School as a music teacher on Music Appreciation subject. Time and again the movie emphasized on the fact that it is Mr. Glen Holland’s (Richard Dreyfuss’ character) dream to be able to finish his composition. As life went on, Mr. Holland transitioned from being a so-so teacher into a teacher who went beyond the mediocre and lived for the purpose of teaching, even as he saw for himself the benefits of his efforts in his students’ lives. This was so with the help of his co-teacher friend who coaches the school’s football team. He told his personal story of how his very own teacher changed his life.

We saw that even as Mr. Holland touched his students’ lives with the way he teaches, he himself also is brought into maturity in the very events in his personal life. We evidently see the conflict within his family how he diverted his attention into teaching his class in school while his actions totally suggest a denial of his son’s hearing impairment. Which is a major despair for him, even as he is so much into music and the desperation was even more reflected with his realization that the great Beethoven lost his sense of hearing in his adulthood, while his son was born deaf.

It is interesting to note how Mr. Holland changed the lives of people around him, not just his students, but even of the teachers and the school’s principal, whom he only rubbed cold elbows with in the beginning. With the duration of time and as people saw for themselves, this teacher’s dedication to his craft and his character of a man, peoples’ lives were changed, and showed their appreciation for his life towards the end of the movie when they all showed him, that his life’s ultimate composition/opus is the people’s lives which he has touched and changed.

But before that happened, it turned out that as human as he is, the casualty of Mr. Holland’s dedication to his work was his family as he took them for granted, especially his son, who surprisingly was brought up by his mom to still be confident despite the conspicuous rejection from his father, who obviously didn’t bother learning the ropes of signing for his son’s sake. It was only when his son was towards his adulthood that he saw how he missed all those years of growing up and knowing him. From then on, he came to terms with his disability and accepted him for what he is.

There came a realization of a hole in Mr. Holland’s heart when towards the prime of his life he has realized he has not fulfilled his dream of finishing his music. During this time a temptation struck him. Rowena, a young lady with a golden voice who looked up to him with awe and attraction, came into the picture offering him affirmation of what he is as a truly gifted musician, which his wife has failed to provide him because of her very own pre-occupation with attending to their son’s special needs. Mr. Holland stood in that crossroad of his life and he passed it with flying colors when despite the many frustrations he must have had with his family, he still chose his family over the hopeful future he might have with Rowena who he knows can embrace his love for music and he knows he can finally finish his life long dream to finish his opus, which he entitled after her name.

This crossroad wherein Mr. Holland selflessly chose to do what’s right and not what’s convenient for him. Choosing his family over his personal interest. It was a test of character for his part and as he chose to stick to his commitment to his family and what’s right rather than choose selfishly what he could have rationalized as rightfully his (his finally finishing his composition). Towards the climax of the movie, he saw right before his eyes, in total amazement, the rewards of all his selflessness and dedication to the very purpose of his being. All of the generations of students whose lives he has changed were all there playing the very opus he has put his heart and soul into and has thought all along that day he will never get to see.

This is a very encouraging and inspiring movie that we could always go back to and know in our hearts that there is always something that we can do that can make a difference and even as we do it one day at a time, it piles up without our knowing it and the difference that we make contribute a great deal to a hopeful future to people that we influence and love.

Mr. Holland’s Opus: A Movie Review

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