To Sir, With Love (1967)

To-sir-with-loveStarring Sidney Poitier and set in London, the plot follows a former architect from British Guiana who becomes a teacher at a high school in a tough area. Early on Mark Thackeray faces a rebellious group of teenagers who dislike education and challenge authority whenever possible. He resolves to keep his temper and yet one day their actions are too vulgar for him and he loses it.

After that he develops a new strategy to treat them as adults and he teaches them practical skills they will need in the real world. He changes how they act and takes them on field trips so that even the most combative one Denham is won over. However, after an incident during gym class which he must diffuse, Thackeray loses the respect of much of the class. His mood changes slightly after receiving another job offer.

Later on in the gym class he is supervising he boxes with Denham. In the ensuing moments he wins Denham and then everyone else over once more. With the year finally over, Thackeray is invited to the year end dance where he is given a gift and serenaded with song (To Sir, With Love by Lulu)! Too choked up to speak he retreats to his office. After a chance encounter he resolves to continue teaching and rips up the other offer.

Besides a good theme in “To Sir, With Love,” Sidney Potier gives a great performance that makes this film both powerful and touching. If you want a small look into Swinging London this is one to watch. Although I am tempted to find fault in this film I find myself focusing on the positives and I will leave it at that.

4/5 Stars

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