Disclosure: I received a screener to view the movie ahead of time so that I could share my review with you. No other compensation was exchanged or received.
This observational documentary follows a year in the lives of two inspirational teachers at Headfort, the only primary-age boarding school in Ireland. Housed in an 18th century estate, school life embraces tradition and modernity. For John, rock music is just another subject alongside Maths, Scripture and Latin, taught in a collaborative and often hilarious fashion. For his wife Amanda, the key to connecting with children is the book, and she uses all means to snare the young minds. For nearly half a century these two have shaped thousands of minds, but now the unthinkable looms: what would retirement mean? What will keep them young if they leave?
Magnolia Pictures will release SCHOOL LIFE in theaters September 8, 2017
Beautiful scenery in Ireland as the teachers drive to the boarding school. It's interesting following the staff and teachers as they teach, encourage, hug, and reassure the children that they will see their parents and go home again. Grab some tissues. It also explains and shows how close the children are because some of them have been in boarding school together for a few years or more.
The male teacher is a music and art teacher. The female teacher seems to teach history, English and drama. She likes to make things fun in her classroom. Another male teacher decides to discuss ethics, and he brings up the topic of same sex marriage. One girl, Eliza, transitions from being in a dorm room with younger girls, to being in a room with girls her own age. She seems really shy.
The male teacher helps the boys with changing out their bedding. The boys are playing and rough housing afterwards. This boarding school even allows the children to call home every night or when they need to before bed. The boys like to play rugby and they get a pep talk from their coach.
This documentary also shows the hardship of being a teacher and how hard it is to put on a play. As the teacher is trying to get the kids to behave and take the play seriously, the children are acting up and misbehaving. The play goes well. The children also enjoy building forts and playing out in the forest.
I like how this documentary shows us how caring the children are to one another and how the teachers treat the children as though they were their own. The relationship between the teachers and students is different then a normal public school. It seems more like a relationship with a family then with teachers and students.
Watch the trailer:
A film by Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane
“A REAL JOY”
- Christopher Campbell, Nonfics
“It’s hard not to be moved. A gentle but keen-eyed documentary.”
- Guy Lodge, Variety
“A DELIGHTFUL CROWD-PLEASER. An irresistibly admiring portrait.”
- Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter
“FINDS POETRY IN THE RAW NATURE OF EDUCATION.
The most adorable documentary that Frederick Wiseman never made”
- David Erlich, IndieWire
“JOYOUS AND HUMANE. A moving, heartwarming look at youth, thoughtful disclosure, and the emotional and intellectual power of artistic endeavors.”
- Gary Garrison, The Playlist
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