I came across this movie while flipping through channels in my hotel room. Within two minutes, I was sucked into the movie.
The movie is Front of the Class, part of the Hallmark Hall of Fame series on television. It is based on the true story of Brad Cohen — an award-winning teacher and motivational speaker. He suffers from Tourete syndrome. His story is amazing, and the movie is well made. It’s been a while since I saw a movie that choked me up, and this one did. Big time. Remember — I was the one who wished Auro would die in Paa, but I’d attribute that one to the makers of Paa.
I’ll admit — I cherish the experience when a film chokes me up. Because that is what cinema is about — nullifying all analysis going on in the head and then making a strong emotional connection. If a cinema does not move me, it is a failure on the part of the filmmaker. And I don’t think I am wrong in assuming this.
Back to the movie, Brad Cohen’s experiences as a child — especially the one where his teacher makes him apologize in front of the class for making random noises — made him want to be the ‘teacher he never had’. Brad is portrayed by Jimmy Wolk and the guy is brilliant. If you watch videos of Tourette syndrome on YouTube, you’d see that it is unthinkable to portray such a character and keep it authentic. He does it. I missed the initial bits of the movie, so I haven’t seen it entirely, but I think I’ll remember his performance for a long time. I looked him up, and he hardly has any experience — so the maturity he brings to his acting and the character is praiseworthy.
Hallmark Hall of Fame is like an irregular T.V. series. They typically make and telecast 3-4 movies a year. Front of the Class was telecast in 2008 and being a T.V. production, I am unable to locate a copy online. If I do, I’ll let you know. Netflix and iTunes don’t have it yet, but you can order one for 35$ from Brad’s website.
Here is his appearance on Oprah.