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The Emperor's Club (2002)

 -  Drama  -  22 November 2002 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 12,728 users   Metascore: 49/100
Reviews: 134 user | 84 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

An idealistic prep school teacher attempts to redeem an incorrigible student.

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(short story "The Palace Thief"), (screenplay)
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Airs Fri. Oct. 03, 6:00 AM on HBO

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Sedgewick Bell
...
Elizabeth
...
James Ellerby
...
Headmaster Woodbridge
...
Senator Bell
...
Martin Blythe
Rishi Mehta ...
Deepak Mehta
...
Louis Masoudi
Gabriel Millman ...
Robert Brewster (as Gabe Millman)
Chris Morales ...
Eugene Field
Luca Bigini ...
Copeland Gray
Michael Coppola ...
Russell Hall
...
Mr. Harris
...
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Storyline

William Hundert is a passionate and principled Classics professor who finds his tightly-controlled world shaken and inexorably altered when a new student, Sedgewick Bell, walks into his classroom. What begins as a fierce battle of wills gives way to a close student-teacher relationship, but results in a life lesson for Hundert that will still haunt him a quarter of a century later. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In everyone's life there's that one person who makes all the difference.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 November 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Palace Thief  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,846,780 (USA) (22 November 2002)

Gross:

$14,060,950 (USA) (24 January 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The girls' prep school location was used as the boys' prep school in Scent of a Woman (1992) See more »

Goofs

When the girls are removing their shirts to go skinny dipping, a Victoria's Secret Body by Victoria bra is revealed, a bra from the time the film was made, not the time period it was set in. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Valet: Is everything okay, sir?
William Hundert: Fine, thank you. Here.
[reaches into his pocket]
William Hundert: Let me, uh...
Valet: That's not necessary, sir.
[walks away]
William Hundert: [narrating] As I've gotten older, I realize I'm certain of only two things. Days that begin with rowing on a lake are better than days that do not. Second, a man's character is his fate. And as a student of history, I find this hard to refute. For most of us our stories can be written long before we die. There are exceptions among the great men of history, ...
See more »

Connections

References Breathless (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Funk 49
Written by Jim Fox, Joe Walsh, and Dale Peters
Performed by James Gang
Courtesy of MCA Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

4/5 Stars
17 June 2003 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

"The Emperor's Club" is a lot different than you would think. It does run a bit on cheesy sentimentality, but the ending is more than surprising considering the type of film this is.

It is a period-piece about a teacher (Kevin Kline) at a prestigious school for boys, and how he tries to "mould" a strong-willed fifteen-year-old boy. And if you want a hint at the surprise ending, don't read any farther, because I cannot control telling you that in the end he does not change the boy. Which is what truly amazed me. Most of the time in films like these, we see the free-spirited kid become proper and respectful. But not so here. This tale doesn't have a perfect teacher turning a bad boy into a perfect boy. It has a flawed teacher wasting years on one student. Years later at a party, he tells the boy, Sedgewick (now an adult), "as a teacher I have failed you." And that's what is so very different about this movie. It isn't as heavy on the drama as I thought it would be, and comes across a bit cheesy and fluffy at times, but the ending is more surprising than "The Sixth Sense" ever will be. It doesn't rely on tried-and-used methods, but goes for a new route. And just when you think that it's as depressing as it can get, the very, very end gives your spirit a bit of a boost.

Kline realizes that in those years that Sedgewick attended his class, he ignored the other students who were trying - and actually cared - about what they were doing. It kind of sheds a new light on the films where a teacher devotes time to one student in particular, because after seeing this film, I bet ten bucks next time you watch a film of the same roots you'll realize that the teacher is ignoring the other students. And "The Emperor's Club" exposes this. Kline's character is flawed, and while he is a good teacher, he makes mistakes, such as spending so much time on Sedgewick and bumping a smarter kid off of the school toga challenge, just so he can put Sedgewick in it (the challenge).

Kevin Kline isn't Otto here. "A$$hole!" is not a motto here. We've got Kline giving a thoroughly convincing performance as a 1970s all-boys school teacher. Kline's makeup at the end of the film is quite good as well, as opposed to something like "The Dish" where Sam Neil's makeup looks like it's about to fall off his face and his wig is about to be plucked off by a gust of wind.

I also liked the student actors in this film. The actors they got to play the various students were pretty good; in fact, many of them were very good. I hope their careers continue after this film, and as hateable as Sedgewick was in this film, the kid who played him was pretty convincing. You always know this when you start to like or dislike a character, much less hate or love them.

At the end of the film, I like the subtle differences in years. In the 1970s, a group of boys travel across a lake to check out the all-girls school, where nuns shoo them away. 28 years later, as Kline's character walks towards his schoolroom, we see boys and girls walking around. In 28 years society has changed, and it's funny to wonder if that group of boys from the 1970s ever thought that in 28 years, what they were paddling across a lake for would be right next to them.


47 of 55 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Let's compare teacher movies roghache
Why was The Emperor's Club not nominated for Academy Awards? Haukdal
Should Hundert have been so very straight? threeoranges
STOP comparing 'Emperor's Club' to 'Dead Poets Society'! dee-travis
New Dead Poet's Society? PeterKunze
Absolutely one of the worst films I have ever seen. colonelforbin5
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