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Mr. Holland's Opus Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

A music teacher inspires his students.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the film includes a lengthy subplot involving Mr. Holland's crush on one of his students. Although he does not act on his feelings, Mr. Holland condones her plan to skip town before high school graduation. Beyond this, there is little for parents to worry about. Cole calls Mr. Holland an a-hole in sign language. Mr. Holland and Iris have a brief discussion about sex. Two male students briefly walk in front of the camera holding hands.

  • Families can talk about coping with disability, teachers who make a difference, and the importance of arts and music education. They can also discuss important events in history as they take place in the film, such as the death of a student in Vietnam and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon. Why does Mr. Holland react so severely when John Lennon dies? Is there a musician or music group that you feel that strongly about? In the film, Mr. Holland suggests that the roots of rock music lie in classical music. Parents may discuss with their kids how music from their generation has influenced current popular music. What do bands/musicians like The Strokes, Black Eyed Peas, and Kanye West have in common with The Kinks, Sly and the Family Stone, and Marvin Gaye?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Music and arts education are promoted heavily throughout the film, as are rights for the disabled. Mr. Holland is at times selfish and immature about his responsibilities, but learns to step up by the end.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Not an issue

  • sex false0

    Sex: A brief discussion about sex. Two male students briefly walk in front of the camera holding hands.

  • language false3

    Language: A character signs "a-hole" in sign language.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue

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