This charming movie is about Germain Chazes (played by Gérard Depardieu), a man who is treated as a fool and who, as we discover, was abused and ridiculed not only by his mother, but also by a certain school teacher during his childhood. We witness his encounters with a well-read older lady, Marguerite, who introduces him to the world of books, reading and words. As he embraces reading once more, we see his awareness, language skills and relationships begin to change. The situations that arise with his increasing comprehension are presented to us in a lighthearted fashion, however, this movie gives us more than a gentle nudge as to the importance of nurturing a child in those early formative years of education.
Marguerite sends us a message too of the potential isolation and loneliness older age and its resultant changes may bring. Her mind, nonetheless, is keen and together through their conversation and reading, Germain reclaims part of himself and Marguerite gains a friend.
I am sure that reading comprehension is a fundamental skill we could not imagine being without. For a person to be hindered from developing in this way is, as this movie illustrates, not only detrimental to Germain’s well being but affects everyone about him too. What affects one, affects us all. May our collective consciousness eliminate this reality from our world.