Director: Christophe Barratier
Screenplay: Christophe Barratier and Philippe Lopes-Curval
Music: Bruno Coulais
Awards: It was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Original Song and Best Foreign Language Film. It was also nominated for eight César awards, winning two for Best Original Score and Best Sound.
Les Choristes (The Chorus) is among the best French films to achieve international success since Amélie.
Wonderfully acted with a beautiful score, it’s easy to see why it was nominated for eight César awards and two Academy Awards.
It tells the story of the kind Clément Mathieu (the fantastic Gérard Jugnot), who arrives in 1949 to teach at Fond de L’Etang (‘Bottom of the Pond’), a boarding school for ‘difficult boys’.
In his first week he discovers the boys are cruelly treated by the brutal headmaster M. Rachin (François Berléand). Soon after he finds the boys singing rude songs about him behind his back, and decides to assemble a choir. Soon after he realises one of the troubled boys, named Pierre Morhange (the equally wonderful Jean-Baptiste Maunier), has an incredible singing voice and real musical talent.
The choir gets progressively better and leads to a transformation in the children, as well as the other teachers and M. Rachin. However, with the arrival of a new boy, the cruel, troubled Mondain, trouble begins.
Les Choristes is a lovely film, uplifting and heartwarming without overdoing the sentiment. Although at times it is predictable, it remains a wonderful French film. The actors are fantastic across the board, with the children giving solid performances, in particular Maunier, who almost steals the show as Morhange. However, Gérard Jugnot is the stand out here as the kind and understanding Clément Mathieu.
Overall I loved this movie and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys French films or classical music. At times it is predictable, but ultimately it’s a well-made, wonderfully acted film with gorgeous music and a heartwarming message at the core.