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The Chorus (Les Choristes) (2004)

  Directed by: Christophe Barratier
Written by: Christophe Barratier, Philippe Lopes-Curval
Starring: François Berléand, Gérard Jugnot, Jean-Baptiste Maunier, Maxence Perrin
Links: The Chorus on the IMDb, Official site
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Nearly there..." - a review by pearly

Never work with animals or children, or so the saying goes. If you were working on this film, you'd have the animal bit covered, but you'd be well and truly breaking the children rule. But, the thing is, from the looks of it, you wouldn't have too many issues whatsoever.

The Chorus is a French film in which an enthusiastic man, Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot), takes a job at a boarding school for troubled boys. Under the strict rule of headmaster Rachin (François Berléand), the boys of the school have gained an unhealthy disrespect for their elders, but Mathieu's kindly approach, including his creation of a chorus for his class, begins to mould the boys into more rounded individuals. In particular, Mathieu is fascinated by cute little Pépinot (Maxence Perrin), a boy who is convinced that his father will be collecting him on Saturday, and Pierre (Jean-Baptiste Maunier), a talented singer who refuses to open up to Mathieu, especially when he notices that Mathieu has become smitten with his mother.

I have conflicting views about The Chorus. For the most part, the story is one that has been overused in other films: that of music solving issues with rebellious children (Drumline (2002) is one of the more bland examples of this type of film). This turned me off the whole thing a little, because I couldn't see much inventiveness or anything new that the film was offering me. But then, on watching it, I had to concur that it is brilliantly pieced together. It reveals more of itself as it goes on, and while it is a fairly standard story, written in a very stock standard filmy way, it does have a lot going for it.

Firstly, the actors are all brilliant. Jugnot is perfect in his role as the kind of teacher you remember for the rest of your life - the one who really makes a difference in the lives of those that he teaches. His adversary, Berléand, is also wonderful, and is well cast, as he has the perfect face to be playing such a character. And, importantly, none of the children are irritating, in fact, they stand out in a positive way.

On top of this, there are some pretty memorable moments peppered throughout the film, and as I mentioned, it is quite well structured. So, overall, I'd have to say that it's above average, and definitely worth a watch, but it leaves you thinking that it needed just a little something to make it truly special.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Fri 11 Feb 2005

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