Stet, a troubled and angry 11-year-old orphan from a small Texas town, ends up at a Boy Choir school back East after the death of his single mom. Completely out of his element, he finds himself in a battle of wills with a demanding Choir Master who recognizes a unique talent in this young boy as he pushes him to discover his creative heart and soul in music.Written by
According to extras on the set, namely members of the real Boychoir, Dustin Hoffman was horrendous at conducting in real life. So much so that a real conductor had to lay in front of him - off camera - and conduct the Boys properly. Apparently Mr. Hoffman has no rhythm. See more »
Most of the music in this film is altered from its original versions, in some cases ending up dramatically different. Handel's Coronation Anthem, "Zadok the Priest", for example, is sung for about sixteen bars, when the audience suddenly applauds, some four or five minutes before the authentic piece would have been finished. Very few of these modifications were noted in the credits as "arranged by . . ." Speaking of poor Handel, his name is listed in the credits several times (the film score uses several of his works) as "Georges Friedrich Handel". Why would the French spelling of "George" be used? Handel was German, writing most of his music in England and Ireland. (Even the French-language Wikipedia page lists him as George, with the German alternative of Georg also noted.) And the reference to his "Alleluia" from Messiah borders on criminal. Everyone knows - or certainly should know in a production like this that strives to appear "classical" - that the piece was titled "Hallelujah" in every creditable published edition. See more »
This is a community of people feeling the same thing. Most of them, strangers. But you are uniting them. You are giving them your voice. And that's as spiritual as it gets.
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This movie, released in 2015, had a brief run recently at Princeton's nonprofit movie theater. It's the story of the fictional "National Boychoir School" and features the singing of students from the local, real-life American Boychoir School. ABS has fallen on hard financial times, and if it needed an infomercial to stimulate a really big donation, this is it. The movie stars Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Debra Winger, and Eddie Izzard in the adult roles, but director François Girard and writer Ben Ripley demand little of their talents. The story dwells mostly on the boys, and one particular boy (Garrett Wareing)—a misfit who arrives at the school unable even to read music, yet such a vocal prodigy that . . . yes, you can guess the rest. When the credits rolled and it turned out the movie had some affiliation with the Hallmark Hall of Fame, that was one of the least surprising moments in a string of non-surprises. Leaving aside its dramatic shortcomings, the creators' generosity with the music lifts the whole production. Actual ABS students are used in the production, according to a local news story, and director Girard said of the school, "It was extraordinary to see them at work. What they accomplish goes way beyond music." A good movie for kids and a pleasant, if unchallenging interlude for grownups, too.
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