The Violin Teacher is a conflicting feature. The music is beautiful and the message is inspiring, but the story’s pace constantly swings back and forth from tight captivation to a sluggish crawl. Sérgio Machado’s film is both the most uplifting film I’ve seen lately, and the most boring.
My face while watching The Violin Teacher usually resembled the blank stare given by music prodigy Laerte (Lázaro Ramos) as he stares in contempt at a troubled inner-city class in São Paulo, Brazil and struggles to teach them music. The Violin Teacher shows great range when establishing how the students react as a collective ensemble and finishing with a different image. The natural chemistry between Ramos and the teens is noteworthy as well. As the film steps out from class, movie goers observe the personal life of select students and Laerte in detail.
There are certainly predictable elements to Machado’s The Violin Teacher, but there are also plenty of bright spots worthy of praising acknowledgment. With a little more consistency in its storytelling, The Violin Teacher would’ve been a straight-A film.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie