- RatedPG13 /GenreDrama
‘Boychoir’ follows the story of Stet (Garett Wareing), a child born with a gifted musical ability.
His talent discovered by chance by his school principal (Debra Winger), she begs Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman), headmaster of the American Boychoir School, to audition and take him in.
But a tragedy soon landed Stet in the elite school and the rest of the film is focused on the boy's adjustment to the school, training to be part of the performing show choir.
A large part of it is on Stet’s student-mentor relationship with Carvelle, a demanding teacher with a big heart.
Dustin Hoffman (right) plays a choir coach in 'Boychoir' | Photo: Shaw Organisation
The coming-of-age movie is filled with emotional, yet mostly predictable moments, such as the rivalry with another talented yet obnoxious boy Devon (Joe West) and his gang of rich schoolmates, who keep taunting and bullying Stet.
Sensing he is a misfit, Stet builds on his potential not just by talent alone, but also hard work and perseverance.
The singing is performed by the real-life New Jersey’s American Boychoir, and the angelic voices and harmonies are beautiful and uplifting.
While a younger and more contemporary movie audience may dismiss choral music and a story about choir boys as old-fashioned, it is nevertheless refreshing to watch a feel-good film done well.
SOLID SUPPORTING CAST
Although this is largely Stet’s story, his performance is buoyed by a strong supporting cast.
Two-time Oscar-winner Hoffman gives a restrained and nuanced performance, never overacting, as the strict headmaster and teacher on his way to retirement and trying one last time to put up a finale show worthy of his illustrious career.
Eddie Izzard is Drake, the ambitious would-be choirmaster, and Kathy Bates plays the headmistress, providing lots of caustic banter with Hoffman’s character.
Of the younger cast, Kevin McHale (from 'Glee') impresses most as the junior instructor who keeps showing faith in Stet’s ability.
The film gives a glimpse into the lives of choir boys and what becomes of them when they come of age. It is at parts sobering, but the message is one that still gives hope, that as long as you have tried to make the best of the gifts and talent given to you, that is what counts.
‘Boychoir’ opens 12 March 2015