Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Les Choristes

Posted on

Les Choristes

In Les Choristes (The Chorus), the time is 1949, the kids are French, the Dickensian boarding school for troubled boys is in a green countryside, the transformative new teacher is a mild-mannered beta male (Gérard Jugnot), and the movie is rotten the way that only a denatured made-for-export slice of Gallic nostalgia can be. The Nazis may have just been vanquished and France may be in tatters, but in director and co-writer Christophe Barratier’s fantasy, the only lingering reminder of war is that one cute kid is an orphan; almost all the rest are robust, not-so-bad boys whose savage breasts are soothed by the singing of flutey chorales.

And lead angry boy Pierre Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier), described by the school’s villainous principal as having the ”face of an angel,” turns out to have the voice of a lark, too. (The principal is seen trimming his nose hairs, apparently the international symbol for tyranny.) Later, Morhange becomes an orchestra conductor and, famous and white-haired, reads a diary kept by his forgotten old teacher while rain falls softly and we cringe honestly, dismayed by such cinematic tunelessness.