What's it about:
A recently orphaned 12-year-old boy is sent to a boarding school, where he struggles to join an elite group of world-class singers. No one expects this rebellious loner to excel, least of all the school’s relentlessly tough conductor, who is forced into a battle of wills to bring out the boy’s extraordinary musical gift.
What we thought:
Choir music is generally a hard-sell to the general public, and although most can agree its beautiful sounds, few can sit actively enthralled through a choir concert. Boychoir, although not your average school-choir-boredom, fails to move a story along beyond the music, mostly due to a script where random bursts of anger are deemed necessary enough for character development.As typical underdog-stories go, a troubled boy gets into a prestigious, yet desperate choir school for boys. Although he has the talent, he lacks the discipline and attitude to push him into greatness, hampered by the choirmaster’s lack of belief in him. As expected, he proves his worth and climbs up the ranks in the choir, while still met with various challenges.The plot points are pretty predictable, but if you are a connoisseur of the classical variety, your ears will thank you for the time spent on this average film. Boychoir is again one of those films that just just don’t cut it to be memorable or charismatic enough to make a mark on the film festival circuit. Also, there were so many big events that they lose their poignancy after the millionth “this is the end for this boy” moments. The side story of his absent father trying to come to grips with having a secret son was also not particularly enthralling.Although most of the cast were decent enough, it fell flat with the casting of the lead, namely Garret Wareing. He was invested enough in his role as the angry pre-teen, but unfortunately the performance felt forced, his novice acting chops clearly visible. Dustin Hoffman had the opposite problem, whereas his skill and experience where above reproach, but somehow lacked the conviction for his role. Kathy Bates and Eddie Izzard were the better of the veterans in the film, and Glee star Kevin McHale had to carry all the charm of the movie.As with the music, the cinematography was also beautifully crafted, revealing the focus of Canadian director Francois Girard (The Red Violin, Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould) to be more on art than story. His repertoire of music films will probably attract a more refined audience of his work, but Boychoir won’t pull in the big crowds.Not a terribly good or bad film, Boychoir is more suited to the ears and eyes than the heart, which is sad for a film that should’ve been nothing but heart.
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