DVD Reviews | Jun 16th, 2005
Starring Gerard Jugnot, Francois Berleand, Jean-Baptiste Maunier, Jean-Paul Bonnaire, Jacques Perrin
Written By: Christophe Barratier
Directed By: Christophe Barratier
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com
Set in 1948, the film takes place in France at a school for Minors who need rehabilitation. There, Clement Mathieu (Gerard Jugnot) is hired to be a supervisor for all these little terrors. Clement’s love for music, and for the kids, their teacher is someone who actually pays attention to them and doesn’t whip them every minute, the music brings them together.
Clement Mathieu never made it as a music composer, but his love for music has never faded. When Clement is called upon to help out at a dysfunctional school for minors, Clement goes in with more of an open mind than most teachers would when arriving at this place. First impressions are usually never what they appear to be, especially for some of these children. Clement notices that some of these troubled kids are just hanging with the wrong crowd and he tries to steer them in the right direction. For Clement, it is an uphill battle the entire time, and a tough battle it is. Standing in his way is Rachin (Francois Berleand- The Transporter), the principal. Rachin’s beliefs are that the kids will not learn through positive reinforcement, rather brutal beatings and punishments, reminiscent of prison. When children misbehave, Rachin sends them to solitary confinement. Kind of harsh even though some of these kids deserve it.
Clement Mathieu tries hard to connect with the kids and eventually they learn to listen to him and even trust him. One day, the bad kids break into Mathieu’s locker and steal his sheet music wondering what the hell is it. Clement then invites them to sing with them. From there, a chorus is formed and even the troubled, deviant kids join in. What I enjoy about Clement is that he will not stand for the kid’s crap. He would either make fun of himself to show its no big deal or would poke fun at them to show he is not afraid of them.
One of the troubled kids, Morhange, turns out to be a talent for singing despite his rebelliousness. With these kinds of movies, their always is the kid who falls into the wrong crowd and really is a good person despite getting in trouble constantly. It turns out Morhange’s mother does not know the kind of person he is in this school. Mathieu feels guilty when he finally meets Morhange’s mother. It’s amusing to see him squirm and be smitten with his mom. One day when she arrives, he runs into the bathroom to clean himself up. Nothing ever pans out because Mathieu feels its inappropriate for him to have a relationship with one of his student’s mothers. He certainly tries, but realizes it’s not fair to Morhange.
The music is nice to listen to despite being in French and having to read the whole movie, I still enjoyed the film. The main characters are great and to see them develop as the film goes on is a real treat. I also liked that the film didn’t end in typical happy fashion. Everyone kind of goes their separate ways after some incidents, and that’s it. As far as extras are concerned, their are none. The film itself is worth it though.
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Stereo
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Favorite Scenes: Arrival to the school, Alto or Soprano?, Mathieu and Rachin argue their differences
Running Time: 97 minutes