Mr. Holland’s Opus is a tale of a man trying to juggle his dreams, his family, and his job. His life consists mainly of music. He is a composer who is forced to begin teaching at a high school in order to get some extra money to pay the rent. He is devastated to find out that his son was born deaf, especially because he wanted him to love and enjoy music as much as he does. He never really forms a strong relationship with his son Cole. He doesn’t know how to sign well enough to even communicate with him. Throughout Mr. Holland’s Opus you see the psychological aspects of hearing and motivation.
Cole (Mr. Holland’s son) was born with conductive deafness, which results when the bones connected to the eardrum fails to transmit sound waves properly to the cochlea. He had a 90% hearing loss. In order to understand how deafness affects a person you must first understand the ear. It converts weak sound waves into more intense waves of pressure in the cochlea. The eardrum connects to three small bones. Vibrations travel through these bones and are transformed into stronger vibrations eventually leading to the cochlea where it displaces tiny hairs along the cochlea’s membrane. The hairs are connected to neurons which in turn makes the auditory nerve transmit impulses to the brain areas that are responsible for hearing (Damage to the hairs, the cochlea or the auditory is known as nerve deafness) People with conductive deafness can still hear themselves talk because voice vibrations run through the skull bones to the cochlea, avoiding the eardrum. As Cole grew up he learned to cope with his deafness by learning sign language and how to read people’s lips. In the movie, Mr. Holland tried to help the deaf community to ‘listen’ to music. He held a concert and positioned large speakers next to the hearing impaired people so they could feel the different vibrations throughout other parts of their body, in attempt for them to differentiate the mood and/or sound of...
Mr. Holland's Opus Essay
MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS is the classic fictional story about a teacher who uses rock and roll to teach untalented kids to appreciate music. The twist in this version is that the teacher wants to be a composer and only takes a teaching position so that he can have the time and money to be able to compose, but he finds teaching to be more than a full-time job leaving little time for outside interests. When he finally does finish his American Symphony, he demonstrates, in my opinion, that teaching was the right profession for him anyway.
As the movie starts, Mr. Glenn Holland (Richard Dreyfuss) is beginning his first year at John F. Kennedy High School by teaching music to the class of 65. As someone who was a member of another high school class of 65 (Garland, Texas), I can attest to the careful accuracy of the sets (D avid Nickolas) and the costumes (Aggie Guerrard Rodgers). Mr. Holland finds he has a group of lethargic and untalented students, and their attempt at music results in a horrible cacophony. He hates his job, and at first he is terrible at it. He uses little witticisms like "There's more to music than notes on a page" and "Playing music is supposed to be fun" in attempts to awaken and inspire his stoic students. Nothing works until he starts playing rock 'n' roll to them and after that he becomes a big hit with the kids although their playing only goes from pathetic to passable.
In a great performance W. H. Macy is Vice Principal Gene Wolters. He is the tuff principal with a flat top that you remember from high school. You know, the one that measures girls skirts and sends them home if their skirts are not regulation length. Wolters does not approve of Mr. Holland's unorthodox methods and tells him sternly that "Rock 'n' roll by its very nature leads to a breakdown in discipline." Olympia Dukakis plays Principal Jacobs who supports Mr. Holland. Jay Thomas is excellent as football Coach Bill Meister and Mr. Holland's best friend at school. In a story with a plethora of cliches, the coach gets his students to dance at the school play and thus boost ticket sales.
The corny but fun script (Patrick Duncan) is peppered with great little one liners. The coach wants his wrestling star Louis Russ (Terrence Howard) to play an instrument in the band so he can get his grade point average high enough not to get kicked off the wrestling team, but Mr. Holland has trouble finding an instrument for him. When offered a tuba, Russ complains that, "Tubas are for fat guys with pimples."
The secondary theme in the show surrounds Mr. Holland's family. His wife Iris (Glenne Headly) has a son whom Mr. Holland names Col after his idol John William Coltrane, the innovative American jazz saxophonist and composer. Mr. Holland loves music and wants his son to be...
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