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Friday, May 30, 2008

THE RON CLARK STORY (2006)

TV docudrama, smoothly helmed by Randa Haines, about an idealistic teacher from the South who, afraid of growing stale, picks himself up and drives to NYC where he gets one job waiting tables dressed up as Robin Hood and another where he dresses up as Matthew Perry to teach sixth grade uptown in Harlem. The film only partially convinces us that teaching is the harder gig, but if this be formulaic stuff (TO SIR WITH LOVE is only the most obvious template, but this time the kids are mostly black and Teach is white), it’s still a damn good formula. The key to these things is to make them about the students, not the teacher; a detail flubbed by heavyweights Sam Raimi & Meryl Streep on the recent MUSIC OF THE HEART, but one that this little charmer gets just right. No surprises, but none needed with such sturdy dramatic legs.

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