Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
Front Page
· Columnists
· Men's Hoops
Go Wild
Live Culture
Police Beat
Special Sections
Photo Spreads
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat Staff
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media Info
Student TV
Student Radio
The Desert Yearbook
Daily Wildcat Staff Alumni

'Chorus' sings, feels good

Photo Courtesy of MIRAMAX FILMS
"The Chorus" - Like "Mr. Holland's Opus" - but French - "The Chorus" was nominated for two Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film.
By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Print this

Movie Rating: 7 / 10

There exists a forgotten genre of film: the foreign pedagogical drama (in other words, remakes of "Dead Poets Society"). Luckily, director Christophe Barratier brings it back in a quaint and moving film, imported from France, called "The Chorus."

The premise of "The Chorus," admittedly, is clichéd and done - several times over. But somehow it manages to be unique and not at all boring.

"The Chorus" is about a boarding school and orphanage that takes care of troubled and abandoned young boys. These boys are very misbehaved, insecure and constantly being punished by their headmaster, Rachin.

Enter Monsieur Mathieu, a sensitive new teacher who will inspire the students to change their behavior and come together to form a choir. He fights Rachin in his strategies of discipline and forms an alliance with the students.

Monsieur Mathieu finds the two most tragic characters in the class and gives them a lot of attention. The first is Pierre Morhange, an angel-faced boy whose mother took him to the orphanage because she worked so much that he did not receive the proper attention and care. He is furious that his mother abandoned him and is constantly creating problems for the other boys and the staff.

Mathieu finds out that Pierre, after walking in on him, has a gift for singing. Mathieu decides to give Pierre a chance to flourish with his talent, and when he does, Pierre stops misbehaving.

The second boy that Mathieu takes under his wing is Pépinot. Pépinot's parents died in the Nazi occupation in World War II, but he still thinks his father is coming to pick him up every Saturday. Mathieu finds this to be heartbreaking, so he tries to give him something else to focus on and makes him assistant conductor of the choir.

These two characters are reunited as old men in present day France at the beginning of the film. Pépinot comes to Pierre's house and gives him Mathieu's diary. The film is narrated by Mathieu's journal entries.

"The Chorus" is one of those movies that is moving but not overly cheesy. Even the most cynical of cynics could not resist its charms. There is something universal about wanting that teacher that changes your life. So watching a movie about a teacher like that feels almost natural.

There is not much else to tell. The story is simple and straightforward, and the direction is seemingly effortless. The young actors are convincing, and there are major and compelling character arcs. It's like "Mr. Holland's Opus," only French and without the ridiculous and untalented Richard Dreyfuss.

This film was nominated for two Academy Awards - Best Original Song (remember when Beyoncé sang with that boys choir at the ceremony? Yeah, it's that movie) and Best Foreign Film.

"The Chorus" is playing at The Loft Cinema for a limited time. And since The Loft is now serving alcohol, if you don't like the film you can go downstairs and drink yourself into a stupor. But I honestly don't think it will come to that.

Write a Letter to the Editor
Photography, sculpture meet at MOCA
Tucson and Campus Calendar
Spring break in Couchville
Able intern coordinates senior exhibit
CCP showcases '70s
Art of Japanese manholes leaves lasting impressions
'Ring 2' runs in circles
'Chorus' sings, feels good
CD Review: 50 Cent
Prose's latest satire shows teeth, wit
Restaurant and Bar Guide
Housing Guide
Search for:
advanced search Archives


Webmaster -
© Copyright 2005 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media