It's another "teacher-influences-his-students" film. But this one, Mr. Holland's Opus, is an enthusiastic and touching effort.We follow Mr. Glenn Holland (Richard "Jaws" Dreyfuss) through his family life and his entire career as music teacher/band director at Kennedy High School in Portland, Oregon. The film makes one stop in every decade: 1957, 1968, 1975, 1981, and 1995. Mr. Holland is always at odds with vice principal Mr. Wolters (William H. Macy) over his teaching techniques, such as using rock and roll as a learning aid. He's also got a few students with problems ranging from low self-esteem to learning disabilities.
At the same time, Mr. H has got his own troubles at home to think about... especially problems communicating with his hearing-impaired son, Cole (Nicholas John Renner, Joseph Anderson and Anthony Natale). He also has put together a little composition of his own, although unfinished for years.
Throughout it all, Glenn's compassion for his students and his desire to bond with his son carries him through his troubles, and actually pays off for him at the end, when he sees what has become of his beloved pupils. His "opus", therefore, is actually the legacy of his accomplishments throughout his tenure at Kennedy High.
Dreyfuss's performance is truly Oscar-worthy. The rest of the cast is excellent as well. While there are many cliches in the script, the story overall is heartwarming.Julian Lennon sings during the closing credits. And you thought he was dead.