A shaken Montreal elementary school is the setting for this Best Foreign-Language nominee from Phillippe Falardeau. A suicide by one of its distaff staff leads to an arrival of an Algerian "substitute," one Bachir Lazhar (Mohammed Fellag) who has his own grave personal issues from his homeland. Monsieur Lazhar unfolds with much thoughtfulness and benevolence due in large part to a very fine Fellag and Falardeau's understated approach to an attractive production from what was obviously a limited budget. In a "feminocracy" Lazhar's open-mindedness to his craft is a tonic, but also a detriment as the film's contemplative way around pedagogy touches on romance and governmental policy. More than expected is happening in the orbit of Lazhar and his class in this upper-echelon adaptation of a play and a monologue where hope still manages to spring eternal.