The Chorus review

You'll need a strong tolerance for sugar to swallow Christophe Barratier's Gallic variation on an old tune: the tale of a tweedy teacher who wins over errant pupils by devotion alone. There's not a note out of place here, but you can't escape the suspicion that you've heard this music of the heart before.

Set in 1949, the melody follows a sweet-faced music teacher, Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot), as he takes a job at a boarding school for troublesome kids, all fiercely oppressed by the school's director. A lightbulb flashes: can Mathieu redeem wayward youth with art? Sure he can. If Robin Williams could do it with literature, why can't he do the same with music?

There are some sturdy performances within the film's delicately Dickensian sense of atmosphere and place. But a lack of tension or flavour makes it play like archetypally middlebrow, made-for-export fare. The details may be different, but the song remains the same.

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