From the director of The Red Violin, Francois Girard comes the story of a young troubled boy, suddenly left alone in the world when his dead- beat mother dies suddenly and the only person left in the world is a father that does not want to know him.
Stet (Garrett Wareimg) is an angry young man from the wrong side of the tracks with a penchant for skipping class and getting into fights. The only saving grace for Stet is that he has a remarkable singing voice. When his father (Josh Lucas) has no idea what to do with his secret son, he is shipped off to the elite American Boychoir Academy, to learn to harness his raw talent.
Struggling to fit in with the other more privileged boys, Stet must study hard and find it within him the desire to become great and rise up to his full potential. He struggles with Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman) his music tutor who sees more in the boy and is frustrated by his lack of motivation. Drake (Eddy Izzard) isn’t sure that Stet will fit in, but it is his teacher Wooly ( Kevin McHale) that sees the true potential in him and convinces the others to train him as the schools soloist.
A rivalry between the star of the school and current soloist Devon ( Joe West) develops as the two strive to gain stardom amongst their ranks. Whist both boys have heavenly voices there is only room for one soloist and Devon does everything he can to undermine Stet and retain his star status.
With such a great cast there is a lot of expectation riding on this movie. Kathy Bates is a scene stealer as usual and Dustin Hoffman is always going to be fantastic in any role. However the film is a little too sentimental. The constant melancholic piano playing is a little forced and drags through almost every pivotal scene in an attempt to create pathos. It’s a little Hollywood and a little over- done.
The rivalry between Devon and Stet is also a little bit paint-by-numbers predictable and does not really develop that sufficiently and the scene where Devon tries to sabotage Stet is just a little cheesy and some what forced. It should have been either further developed and less predicable or left out all together.
Predictably it all works out in the end with Stet’s ashamed father accepting him, the teachers adoring him and the other students both admiring him and looking up to him. It just goes to snow that with a little guts, a lot of determination and some hard work that even a kid from the wrong side of the tracks can do good. It’s a nice warm fuzzy way to wrap a movie up in a nice pretty bow at the end.
Eventually their voices change and the time for being in a boys choir must come to an end. But one does ponder what the struggles and fighting has all been for if nothing lasts forever. The lesson in it is that the boys all must learn to live in the moment and appreciate what they have whilst they have it, which is a pretty good message to take home.