An unabashed crowd pleaser that recalls the troubled youth movies of the 1950s more than it does standardized performing arts showcases, François Girard’s first film in ages goes for the heartstrings while eschewing most troubling genre clichés.
Following the loss of his mother in a drunk driving accident and a father (Josh Charles) that refuses to acknowledge his existence, troubled eleven year old Stet (newcomer Garret Wareing) discovers he has a gift for singing chorale music. His talents capture the eyes and ears of Dustin Hoffman and Eddie Izzard, the leaders of the American Boychoir, second only to Vienna’s young adult choir in terms of excellence and notoriety.
There’s an interesting dichotomy going on here concerning young Stet’s push and pull towards his new vocation. He wants to do it because he has nowhere else to go and his own temper often gets him into trouble. Even worse, it’s a gift he’ll only have for a couple of years at best until his voice changes. It’s expertly played by Wareing in a note-perfect performance. One of the best from a young actor in quite some time.
Similarly intriguing is the unspoken power structure between Hoffman’s passionate type, Izzard’s analytical jerk, and Kathy Bates as the head of the organization. They all come together under Girard’s well rounded direction that hasn’t lost a step. It earns every bit of its ultimate feel good vibe. (Andrew Parker)
Sunday, September 7th, 9:45am, Isabel Bader Theatre