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2 reviews, 14 user ratings

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Chorus, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"A Very Boring, Icky and Smarmy Engagement"
2 stars

“Les Choristes” (“The Chorus”) comes to town publicizing the fact that it was the most popular film in France last year, beating out “Lord of the Rings,” “Spider-Man 2,” “Shrek 2 and “Harry Potter 3 and that it was the official French entry for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. The latter claim can be easily explained–the infinitely superior “A Very Long Engagement” wasn’t completed in time to qualify–but the former is a mystery to me, considering that even the weakest of those films is far superior to this woefully unoriginal bit of mawkishness.

In post-war France, a humble teacher (Gerard Jugnot) arrives at a remote school for troubled boys run by an extra-evil headmaster. Although the kids are tough and rebellious at first (well, as tough as angelic 13-year-old French boys can get), they begin to thaw when their teacher exposes them to classical music and, after a couple of false starts, forms a chorus and (I am quoting from the press kit here) “he discovers there is far more to these children than anyone dared do believe” as his “simple dreams change the future for a forgotten group of children.”

Shamelessly borrowing from every noble-teacher-reaching-disaffected-students film that you or I can think of (with the possible exception of “Class of 1984 ), writer-director-composer Christophe Barratier gives us one of those movies that panders to the belief of the uplifting nature of art without giving any evidence of it himself. There is not a single scene or plot development here that cannot be seen a mile away and, like “Dead Poets Society,” it makes the mistake of confusing the love for a teacher with a love for the subject he is teaching; instead of discovering the beauty of music, we instead get to deal with his own personal crises while a better film would have been confident enough in its subject to avoid such trite sidetracks.

Bland and inoffensive to the point of offensiveness, “Les Choristes” is the kind of foreign film that could only satisfy those who have never seen such a thing before. Thanks to the aggressive Miramax promotional campaign and the fact that it did, in fact, score a Foreign Film Oscar nomination (over “House of Flying Daggers,” to name just one vastly superior and excluded title), it will no doubt attract a far larger audience in America than most other foreign films (certainly more than that for Jean-Luc Godard’s infinitely more interesting “Notre Musique,” which coincidentally comes out today as well) even though it contains none of the fascinating pleasures that can be had from watching a film from another country. Instead, it merely serves as proof that simple-minded, manipulative and incredibly treacly melodramas can be found just as easily in the art-houses as they can in the multiplexes.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10616&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/28/05 09:58:27
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Boston Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Boston Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/16/07 Sabrina i love this movie...a great hit..i enjoyed the film very much /.. 5 stars
11/01/06 Taylor Fladgate Mawkish? Maybe, but the acting & music were outstanding. 5 stars
11/22/05 Martinus Nohan Pradipta I think this film is great, and I like this film very much. 5 stars
11/12/05 Jessica B I loved it! I cried because of the meaning and sound of the music. I reccommend this one! 5 stars
9/20/05 patricia dominique just love it, outstanding music 5 stars
9/01/05 deb D very enjoyable if you like indi movies 4 stars
8/01/05 justin jean batiste maunier was exelent I would love to sing a duet with him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/13/05 pocholo mirabueno its nice, the songs are lovely., our school let us watch it. 5 stars
5/11/05 Captain Craig No traumas, rape, murder or violance.How do you make a movie like that?Thank God they did! 5 stars
1/02/05 Movie Lover A true hit. 5 stars
12/27/04 boule187 The Must 4 stars
11/24/04 parker so good....so simple..... 5 stars
10/03/04 gollum388 excellent movie !!! 5 stars
9/13/04 Adam Guthrie I really enjoyed this film, especially the music. Well worth a look. 5 stars
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  22-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 03-May-2005



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