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"THE CHORUS (LES CHORISTES)"
(2004) (Gerard Jugnot, Jean-Baptiste Maunier) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Mild Extreme Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None Moderate Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Mild Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Subtitled Drama: A post WWII instructor tries to inspire and change the attitudes and behavior of those enrolled in a school for troubled boys by getting them involved in his unauthorized chorus.
PLOT:
It's 1949 and former composer Clément Mathieu (GERARD JUGNOT) has agreed to take a supervisor's job at the Fond De L'Etang school for troubled boys. Middle-aged and with his dreams behind him, Clément has taken the job after the previous supervisor packed his bags following one too many run-ins with the various delinquents.

They include Pierre Morhange (JEAN-BAPTISTE MAUNIER), the boy with the angelic face but devilish temperament and Le Querrec (CYRIL BERNICOT) whose prankster booby trap severely injured the school's elderly custodian. Not all of the kids are bad, such as diminutive orphan Pépinot (MAXENCE PERRIN), but that makes no difference to the school's strict headmaster Rachin (FRANÇOIS BERLEAND) who rules with an "action equals reaction" disciplinary philosophy. He and another adult, Chabert (KAD MERAD), believe in doling out the physical punishment, but it doesn't seem to do any good as the boys keep acting up.

Clément decides to take a different approach. Not only does he not turn them in to Rachin when they misbehave, but he also tries to evoke a change of attitude in them by introducing them to music. While the boys -- including Mondain (GREGORY GATIGNOL), a volatile transferee from a detention center -- initially don't want anything to do with that or him, Clément manages to get most of them involved in his unauthorized chorus.

Yet, when he becomes romantically interested in Pierre's single mother, Violette (MARIE BUNEL), and Rachin learns of the supervisor and boys' extracurricular activities, it's anyone's guess whether Clément will be able to complete his goal of improving the boys and their attitudes toward him and others.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Although it's about kids, it doesn't seem too likely (due to being a subtitled, period, art house type offering).
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some language/sexual references and violence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • GERARD JUGNOT plays a former composer who's all but given up on his dream when he takes a job as the new supervisor at a school for troubled boys. Breaking away from the way the others discipline the boys, he tries to change their ways through music, all while falling for the single mother of one of his students.
  • FRANÇOIS BERLEAND plays the very strict headmaster at the school who rules with a stern fist and isn't above using physical punishment to keep the kids in line.
  • KAD MERAD plays another adult figure at the school who also doesn't put up with the kids' bad behavior and attitudes.
  • JEAN-BAPTISTE MAUNIER plays an angelic looking troublemaker at the school who turns out to have a great singing voice, but isn't happy that Clément is interested in his mom.
  • MARIE BUNEL plays his single mom who has her boy at the school.
  • MAXENCE PERRIN plays a young orphan who takes a liking to Clément.
  • GREGORY GATIGNOL plays a volatile transferee from a detention center who turns out to be the main and eventually dangerous troublemaker. He uses some profanity.
  • CYRIL BERNICOT plays a school boy responsible for a booby-trap that injured an adult worker.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this subtitled foreign drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 3 "s" words and some slang terms for male genitalia, while other expletives and some colorful phrases are also uttered. Some sexually related dialogue (including some song lyrics sung by boy troublemakers) is present.

    Some adult authority figures use physical punishment to deal with troublemaker kids, with one such incident leading to an older boy attacking the headmaster and having to be subdued, while we see the somewhat bloody results of a prank-based booby trap that injured a janitor (the impact is not seen).

    Other characters have bad attitudes, and some of the troublemakers' attitudes and behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate. Some adults and a few kids smoke, while some wine is seen near adults in a few scenes. A boy is noted as being an orphan, while an adult gets news that his mother has died (and there's a brief funeral scene).

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see a bottle of wine on a table for the adults during a meal.
  • Clément and Pierre's mother may have wine by them.
  • Clément and another man have a bottle of wine near them on a table.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a man who's holding a bloody hand over his eye, the result of a booby trap of sorts left for him by one of the kids. We later see some blood on the bandage covering part of his head.
  • Pierre has drawn a picture of Clément at the toilet with the caption that he "eats sh*t."
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Most of the kids initially have bad attitudes toward the adults at the school.
  • Some kids are disrespectful of Clément, calling him "baldy" and "bullet-head."
  • We see some of the kids throwing paper and otherwise misbehaving in class. They then play "keep away" from Clément.
  • Various kids make demeaning gestures behind Rachin's back as he walks past them.
  • We learn that some of the kids broke into Clément's cabinet and stole some of his belongings.
  • Pierre has drawn a picture of Clément at the toilet with the caption that he "eats sh*t."
  • An older kid makes Pépinot pay a marble to him in order to eat.
  • Mondain defiantly blows cigarette smoke into Clément's face.
  • Pierre blows a raspberry at Clément.
  • Mondain calls Pierre's mother a "whore." Pierre then grabs him and the two struggle.
  • Clément tells various white lies to others to help his students.
  • Although Mondain is blamed for stealing money, it turns out another student did it.
  • Clément breaks Rachin's rules by continuing to hold choir practice.
  • While meeting with the school's benefactors, Rachin takes the credit for the school's choir (when it's Clément who's responsible for it).
  • It's implied that an expelled student troublemaker set a fire that damages the school.
  • Rachin fires Clément for taking the kids out of the school for an impromptu field trip (that turned out to save their lives since the school caught on fire while they were gone).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Rachin slaps Mondain's face many times. The student then grabs Rachin by the throat. Chabert pulls that kid off him and subdues him by pinning him to the floor with his arm bent behind him.
  • Clément and the kids return to the school to discover that the roof is on fire (no one is inside and no one is hurt).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Baldy," "Bullet-head," "Shut up," "Jerk," "Piss" (urinate), "Whore," "Bust my balls," "To hell with..." "You bastard," "Little creep," "To go to hell" and "Idiot."
  • Some kids are disrespectful of Clément, calling him "baldy" and "bullet-head."
  • We see some of the kids throwing paper and otherwise misbehaving in class. They then play "keep away" from Clément.
  • Pierre has drawn a picture of Clément at the toilet with the caption that he "eats sh*t."
  • An older kid makes Pépinot pay a marble to him in order to eat.
  • Mondain defiantly blows cigarette smoke into Clément's face.
  • Pierre blows a raspberry at Clément.
  • Pierre purposefully gets blue ink onto Clément (being upset about the latter being interested in the kid's mother).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song audition has a line about having "tobacco in my pouch."
  • Mondain sings a song about taking out his "knob" (penis) to give it a "nice hand job." He then sings an added line about "I'll shine yours too." He then tells another student that singing is a cover for Clément to "touch your p*cker."
  • Some kids sing something about a "c*ck" and it being the principal's last chance to lift a coffin lid.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 "s" words, 4 slang terms for male genitals ("c*ck," "knob" and "p*cker"), 3 hells, 1 ass (used with "hole") and 1 damn (all in subtitles).
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We learn that some of the kids broke into Clément's cabinet and stole some of his belongings (with a comment about there being "no nude girls").
  • Mondain sings a song about taking out his "knob" (penis) to give it a "nice hand job." He then sings an added line about "I'll shine yours too." He then tells another student that singing is a cover for Clément to "touch your p*cker."
  • Some kids sing something about a "c*ck" and it being the principal's last chance to lift a coffin lid.
  • A student says he saw Rachin's daughters, with another asking if they were naked (the first says they weren't).
  • SMOKING
  • Mondain smokes a number of times, while Rachin and Chabert each smoke once and a few other kids smoke.
  • We see that the kids have put a lit cigarette into a schoolroom skeleton (as a visual joke).
  • A song audition has a line about having "tobacco in my pouch."
  • Mondain defiantly blows cigarette smoke into Clément's face.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Adult Pierre gets news that his mother has died. We then see her casket being lowered into the ground in the rain, but the movie then flashes back to the past, so no more is made of that.
  • We hear that Pépinot is an orphan (his parents being killed by the Nazis).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Troubled kids and schools for them.
  • The fact that Clément doesn't turn in the kids to Rachin for misbehaving.
  • There's talk that a kid jumped off the roof in the past and died.
  • Chabert thinks that Clément is a pedophile when he sees the former in the bathroom with three of the boys (but the supervisor is questioning them about breaking into his locker). Mondain later makes a related accusation, but none of it's true.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Chabert slaps one of the kids on the head for being disrespectful.
  • Rachin has Le Querrec by the ear and we then hear the sounds of him apparently thrashing the boy in some fashion.
  • Mondain calls Pierre's mother a "whore." Pierre then grabs him and the two struggle.
  • Mondain states that he killed his last guy with a bayonet (but we don't know if that's true or not).
  • Mondain is briefly paddled.
  • Chabert struggles with Mondain over an alleged watch theft.
  • Rachin slaps Mondain's face many times. The student then grabs Rachin by the throat. Chabert pulls that kid off him and subdues him by pinning him to the floor with his arm bent behind him.
  • It's implied that an expelled student troublemaker set a fire that damages the school.



  • Reviewed October 16, 2004 / Posted January 28, 2005

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