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School Life (2016)

School Life (2016)

A compassionate year-in-the-life documentary about two seasoned teachers nearing retirement at an Irish boarding school

7.3

Movie

Ireland, Spain
English, Spanish
Documentary
2016
DAVID RANE, NEASA NÍ CHIANÁIN
100 min

What it's about

John and Amanda teach Latin, English and guitar at a fantastical stately home-turned-school. Nearly 50-year careers are drawing to a close for the pair who have become legends with the mantra: “Reading! ’Rithmetic! Rock ’n’ roll!” But for pupil and teacher alike, leaving is the hardest lesson.

The take

Classroom chatter and inside jokes; the rhythmic routine of class, band practice, and communal mealtime; colorful paints and a keen Shakespeare play; paperback books, pages bookmarked with dogears. These are the precious, ordinary wonders of Headfort, a preparatory boarding school in Ireland. 

School Life observes Amanda and John Leyden, who have each taught at Headfort for over four decades. As they both near retirement, so too looms the promise of a tranquil retreat into the countryside—and questions of what they leave behind in their school, their classrooms, and their students. Idyllic and gentle, this documentary offers a brief but meaningful look into the school lives of bright children indelibly influenced by their earliest mentors.

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