As I just became aware of this film a few weeks ago, and ordered a DVD and watched it today (10-9-11) this review is unlikely to be seen by many because the film is 4 years old and there are nearly 250 user reviews already. So rather than rehash the plot, I will first mention that I have been an Educational Therapist for over 45 years, and have worked extensively with dyslexic and ADD and ADHD children in my practice, so this film had intrinsic interest to me going in. But despite seeing many films on learning problems through the years, some very good, I have never seen any movie that can come close to this one both in emotional power and subject accuracy. When I saw that the film is 165 minutes long, I was expecting to watch it in two sittings, but I never once felt the need to take a break, and in the second half of the film, when the director Aamir Khan enters the story, I was riveted continuously, and embarrassingly shed more than a few tears. If you have any interest in education and the problems the outsiders face, this is a must-see. And if you just want to see an intelligent drama with no car chases, explosions, sex scenes, or ultra violence, then you will be glad you saw this wonderful film, which, by the way, while it is about children, is not really for children, unless they are over about 11 or 12, or have suffered the experience of failing due to undiagnosed or treated reading or similar learning difference. Don't let the Disney Studio name fool you, this does not feel like a typical Disney movie, but the film does point out that Walt Disney himself had school learning problems as a child. Another aspect of the film is something I always try to impart to my clients: There is life after school. And it is not necessary to be the best at everything to be successful. Just become the best you are able and try to find something you like doing that makes you happy.
The rest will take care of itself. What a great film!
Since I first wrote this review, I have rewatched it 5 more times, and now consider it the best film I have ever seen, and that encompasses about 2500 films.