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To Be and to Have
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To Be and to Have

2002
Documentary
1h 44m
Inspired by the French phenomenon of 'single-class' schools, this film charts the life of a small one-class village school over the course of one academic year, and takes a warm and serene look at primary education in the French heartlands. (New Yorker Films)
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To Be and to Have

2002
Documentary
1h 44m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 68.66% from 357 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(357)
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Rated 23 Apr 2007
0
4th
Very boring and vaguely depressing. I'm very sorry, I know I'm supposed to like it but it really was quite terrible. It also made me feel bad for not liking it. Fuck you movie, it's not my fault you suck!
Rated 01 Jul 2008
83
77th
What an eye-opener to see a teacher who clearly loves what he's doing and who is great at it. When Lopez reveals that he's retiring, I internally gasped, "No! You can't! We need people like you!" What I really loved about the movie itself is the lack of talking heads (only one short interview with Lopez). His interactions with the kids tell the story. And I LOVED the editing restraint showed when some of the kids were struggling. It really showed how wonderfully patient and caring Lopez is/was.
Rated 28 Jun 2011
88
90th
Whatever commentary there is is entirely subtextual. We get to see snippets of a school year in a rural French schoolhouse with about 15 students of various elementary school ages. Some of these are good students, some are bad, the teacher is very much human and not perfect but also clearly cares and it's not an easy job. There's nothing to quite make you go wow but it's greater than the sum of its parts, a triumph of simplicity and small insights into the learning process and life itself.
Rated 26 Apr 2012
85
84th
Oh man, cuteness overload. My brain shut down after a little while because it just couldn't process all the adorable things it perceived. It's one thing to have a bunch of kids going about their day, but when they're speaking a language I don't understand it's just too much. This does nothing to take away the fulfillment of observing a child's education, seeing their minds grow in real time, through difficulty and triumph. The film's simplicity in storytelling lends more to its profundity.
Rated 01 May 2012
90
95th
A warm and sweet documentary. Watching kiddies was never this cute. The teacher also deserves some credit, he's caring and warm, but also strict. The ending is wonderful, seeing Mr Lopez getting a little emotional, watching his class walk away
Rated 16 Jul 2023
35
27th
first movie I ever saw when I was like 9 apparently I thought it was great I only remember the beginning now. Rated low because it is not interesting to me now not because of quality
Rated 26 May 2022
60
54th
I can now say after having seen this film that Speth's 'Mr Bachmann and His Class' (which I saw first) is obviously a German version of 'To Be and To Have', so much so that all my comments about that film also apply to this film (i.e. both films make apparent that teachers ought to care for their students and teach them logic, ethics and aesthetics to lead a good life). While I prefer the Wisman-esque style of Speth to Philibert's more romantic approach, Jojo is the biggest crowd pleaser.
Rated 18 Feb 2021
94
92nd
Absolutely wonderful documentary about little village school and its dedicated teacher. Documentary is showing the roots of humanity and how the education begins. Excellent film from Philibert and definitely one of the best movies released in 2002.
Rated 16 Jun 2020
85
92nd
lindo
Rated 17 Jun 2020
90
94th
putting my pedagogical differences with this teacher aside i think this film really finds and portrays the unique and the universal of the affect of a classroom
Rated 09 Mar 2020
70
51st
Watching kids' daily lives is always engrossing. There was something sad about the background of depressing prospects for these rural students, particularly the ones with some "behavioral issues." The patient teacher can do nothing but try, over and over again, to convince them to memorize, obey, and get along--preparing them no doubt for "the real world," but how sad is the continuum between prisons and schools, even sweet little countryside ones.
Rated 10 Apr 2019
87
89th
2019-04 beautiful, uncomplicated, heartwarming. Following a year of primary eduction students and their devoted teacher in a small village in France
Rated 31 Jul 2018
8
78th
There's a lovely interaction at play here. Between a patient and caring teacher who takes the time to acknowledge, understand and respond to his pupils' needs, and said kids whom we witness grow into wisdom and maturity. I remember Brad Pitt once describing Malick's approach to filmmaking as a butterfly-net kind of way of catching moments, and similarly, this documentary surely catches a lot of them, at once sad, funny and bittersweet.
Rated 13 Jul 2008
79
73rd
"a warm and serene look at primary education in the French heartlands."
Rated 01 Jul 2008
87
83rd
There's always something great about watching kids unscripted. I love how Mr. Lopez is always so calm and doesn't make a big deal out of each kid's personal crisis for the day. The last scene was quite touching.
Rated 11 Jul 2011
88
80th
A lovely little film. I work at a preschool and I get to experience some of this magic and charm everyday. Kids are all wonderful in their own ways.
Rated 14 Oct 2011
35
90th
"Nicolas Philibert observes life inside a one-room schoolhouse in northern France in his documentary To Be and to Have, easily one of the best films of the year." - Ed Gonzalez
Rated 07 Apr 2008
80
98th
Don't read the imdb trivia. I know you want to--now more than ever--But seriously. Don't.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
86
96th
A remarkable decision not to shoot this on video. The greatest documentary about schoolteaching. See also THE AFGHAN ALPHABET and CHILDREN FULL OF LIFE.
Rated 25 Nov 2014
95
93rd
A beautiful, sweet and slow-moving gem that touched me just as much on this viewing as it did when I first saw it in French class a decade ago. It's very fly-on-the-wall, day-in-the-life-of stuff, set in a small, rural French school. But it finds beauty, heart and genuine warmth in the everyday and mundane, moving the audience in ways many films with a thousand times the budget could never even dream of.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
90
85th
I couldn't possibly say anything bad about this bittersweet, emotional, well-made documentary about a single-class school somewhere in rural France. At the center of it all stands the kind-hearted, almost saintly, teacher, Georges Lopez. His methods are old-fashioned, and I'll leave it to others to discuss how effective they are, but it's certainly a joy to watch him deal with the children in their ups and downs.
Rated 02 Apr 2008
40
18th
Not enough bad poetry!
Rated 13 Sep 2010
85
82nd
Warm and intelligent documentary that uses simple means to achieve very impressive ends. Every character is a star.

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