We all had that one teacher in school – the one who believed in us and the nobility of his or her profession, connected with us, inspired us, practiced tough love and pushed us when we needed it. We all had a teacher who made us who we are.
It’s not a new theme but it remains a powerful one. A reminder of the power of determination, belief and respect. It has been explored in many films including To Sir With Love, Freedom Writers and in Parichay, closer home. But the 2004 French Film Les Choristes (The Chorus) by Christophe Barratier blends modesty and music to deliver the theme in a most heartwarming fashion.
The film is a flashback on the life of Pierre Morhange, an acclaimed conductor, who comes by the journal of his teacher Mr. Clement Mathieu - the Prefect at the Fond de l’Etang, a school for troubled children. The story is about the transformation of a group of very unruly children through the power of belief and respect, the discovery and development of a musical prodigy and how giving is never a one-way process; the giver always gains too. It is a film that leaves our hearts filled with joy and hope.
The highlight of this film is the extremely beautiful and uplifting choral music. The divine voices of the children leave us enthralled. It is no surprise that the film was nominated for the Best Achievement in Music written for Motion Pictures at the 77th Annual Academy Awards, as also the Best Foreign Language Film. The casting of the film is noteworthy, as is the cinematography churning out some hauntingly beautiful scenes within the limited scope of the school setting.
A highly recommended film for those who enjoy getting their hearts warmed by a simple story, well-told.
This review first appeared in the magazine Inbox 1305.