Front of the Class (2008)

August 30, 2012 2 Comments
About
three times a year we get to see a decent television production that once aired
on local CBS stations (now ABC) and bears the Hallmark Hall of Fame emblem. Front of the Class is one of the more
memorable titles in a string that have included dramas, comedies plus even the
occasional costume film, and yes, the rare failure.

Being
different seems like it may be a disease for young Brad Cohen. No one seems to
want to be his friend at school because he is different – but he cannot control
his unexplained shouts or “ticks” as he and his family refer to his bursts of
uncontrollable emotion. His parents are divorced and his father cannot seem to
understand him which leads twelve-year-old Brad to the assumption that his
father is embarrassed of him while his mother (Patricia Heaton) never stops
trying to find a cure for his unexplained behavior. She finds answers in the
form of Tourettes Syndrome. Brad’s “constant companion” now has a name.
Now,
ten years later, Brad (Jimmy Wolk) is a recent college grad and is searching
for the opportunity to become a teacher – his dream occupation inspired by a
former principal. Making a move to Atlanta where his father (Treat Williams)
and stepmother now live, Brad finds constant conflicts with his father whom he
has never yet repaired his relationship with, despite being surrounded with
people who are reminding him to at least try.
Overcoming odds is the one thing Brad is good at… but he didn’t know how many
obstacles he’d have to beat.
This
did not sound particularly appealing to me when I first read its synopsis but
my family hardly ever misses these, so I decided to watch it regardless and I
am pleased to say that once again I was surprised by the depth and magnificent
storytelling talents this series has maintained (for the most part) over the
years. Inspired by a true story, Front of
the Class
had the potential to be successful even before it aired since such
stories usually make the better movies. Relationships are important whether
it’s with family or someone you may want to build a family with, they are
important to maintain. Brad is fortunate enough to be surrounded by many people
who love him for who he is not what the disease has made him. During this
story, Brad overcoming his “disability” was not easy, especially as a young boy
who was a “target” for jokes and ridicule. We come to realize that Brad was
blessed with two special women in his life; in his mother who never stops
fighting to find the cause of Brad’s baffling twitches and his stepmother who
is genuinely a wonderful lady who does have real affection for her husband’s
children. Likewise his brother Jeff is wonderfully defensive of Brad. I enjoyed
that about the story; the characters development and the relationships that
continued to expand because of that.
Based
on a book that I am assuming was taken from the true story, I cannot say how
much of this movie is accurate or inaccurate to its subject matter but I can
without question recommend this as an inspiring film. When seeing the Hallmark
name associated to any film, we are assured that it will be reasonably
family-appropriate. While Front of the
Class
is clean, it may be better viewed by adults and older teens who will
not only be able to appreciate the film better but maybe take something away
from it. In telling the story, veteran actors Williams and Heaton are both
superb, but newcomer Jimmy Wolk is the scene-stealer; he gives an excellent
portrayal. The supporting cast is also excellent including Brad’s young students
who were all quite good in their comparatively minor roles.  Front
of the Class
manages to be comedic, challenging and even unexpectedly heartbreaking.
The scenes involving Brad teaching are heartwarming and the impact he has on
his students are lovely to watch unfold and the way they give back without
caring what disabilities he may have are touching. In learning to never
accept defeat, this journey is a thought provoking one. If you missed this premiere on
TV, try to get a copy as it is well worth seeing. Lessons are there for the
taking.
(Parental review: A young boy apparently writes profanities on a wall [off-camera], it
is said that he has ADHD. Some mild thematic material is in the form of Brad’s disability
as a large factor in the film; another minor but important character has a life
threatening disease that eventually does take their life. It is rated TVPG)

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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2 Comments

  • Rosie August 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Interesting. I try to watch those Hallmark movies when I can, I'll have to look into this one. :-)

  • Rissi August 31, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Yes do, Rosie! This one took me by surprise, only it was of the good variety. :-)

    The Hallmark channel movies may sometime be a bit sappy (but always lovely) but Hallmark Hall of Fame usually has a beautiful story to tell.

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