French film “Back to School” is a fun, comedic ride


Gracie Watt / Hilltop Views Mashups

“Back to School” or “Le Grande Classe” is a French feel-good comedy. The film is streaming now on Netflix.

Redemption, school reunions and mistaken identity. Sounds like everything will go according to plan right? If you answered no, but are very curious and still want to see how it’ll go down, there’s a movie for that. Get ready for laughs and a mystery wrapped into one. 

“Back to School” (“Le Grande Classe”) is a French comedy movie that stars Jérôme Niel as Jonathan and Ludovik Day as Pierre-Yves. 

The plot revolves around Johnathan (Niel) and Pierre-Yves (Day), two 30-somethings that are invited to a reunion for their old middle school. During their time in school, they weren’t the most popular. Now more successful, they accept the invitation in order to show off to their old classmates. When they arrive, Johnathan is immediately mistaken for the bad boy of their class, Johnathan Lopez. In middle school, Lopez was accused of setting the gym on fire, and was never heard from again. 

This movie does an interesting job at dropping comedy bombs, as well as plot bombs. There’s situations where the set up of a joke will happen, then the punch line comes out and side punches with something unexpected. For instance, when Pierre-Yves is talking to an old classmate, his classmate makes a comment about his wife not liking how he plays a certain game a lot. A few seconds later, we find out that the classmate’s wife is their old gym teacher. There’s many more of these throughout the movie, which make for great laughs. 

This makes you feel like you’re watching the characters act as if they were back in middle school, but with a few minor tweaks. For example, Johnathan and Pierre-Yves’ old bully still treats them terribly, although their bully doesn’t know that Johnathan was the one he used to bully,and not his old friend, Lopez. 

Now, there’s one thing that this movie does, upon first viewing, that wasn’t really mentioned explicitly. Where was Lopez during this entire thing? At first, it was odd that he wasn’t present, not even a bit. However, this is something that the film does a very good job with. Throughout the film , there are little hints. Blink and you’ll miss it. There may be a small nagging in the back of your mind when trying to piece together this sub-plot. It may seem crazy, until the very end. As the camera starts to pan away and credits start to roll, there is one last detail. If you paid attention throughout the movie, the last detail will let you know if Lopez was there at the reunion. 

Overall, it’s an enjoyable movie. There’s something for everyone to laugh at. Whether with a group of friends or a significant other, “Back to School” is a great choice. Even if you don’t like to read subtitles, you can always put on the English dub.