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Film Review: “Boychoir” (2014) ★★★★


Virginia Woolf wrote in her suicide letter to her husband that she is ‘spoiling his life, and that without her, Leonard could work’. In another words, does it mean that losing someone you love is the beginning of a new and exciting life? Stet has a beautiful voice and hides this talent from other people. This changes, however, when his mother, who is an alcoholic, loses her life in a tragic car accident. His principal, Ms Steel, (played by Debra Winger), notices that this young and troubled boy, has a gift. So, she invites the National Boychoir to the school for Stet’s audition. Surprisingly, Master Canavalle also sees that he has potential, but also finds a boy who has difficulty controlling his temper…

Boychoir is a good example of what nowadays is missing in most films. There are few like this one that can touch our soul and heart with its purity, innocence and integrity.  When the film begins, for those who are not aware of the plot, they will not know what to expect next. When we first find Stet, we see him rather cockerel and bullying, until the moment he gets home. Stet, instead of being busy with his homework, looks after his single mother, who is not in good shape at all; she is an alcoholic. Stet quickly takes the bottle of vodka from his mother and prepares a meal. From this scene forward, the viewer gets the chance to like and admire Stet for his wisdom, patience and his ability to remain in control, when someone at his age would have lost control, long ago.

As the film progresses, and as we see Stet’s life, we begin to better understand why, in the beginning, he was introduced as a bully. When his principal, Patricia Steel (Debra Winger) explains to him that he has a gift, Stet does not pay much attention to her words, and runs away right after his first audition, leaving Master Canavalle (Dustin Hoffman), a bit confused. Soon after, when the National Boychoir school accepts Stet as a student, Canavalle and the Headmistress (Kathy Bates) realize that the biggest challenge in their lives is about to begin…

Photography By Myles Aronowitz

Boychoir is directed by Quebecian filmmaker François Girard, whose approach to the film does not give the spotlight to the stellar cast, such as, Dustin Hoffman and Kathy Bates, but instead gives opportunity to an extremely talented young actor, Garrett Wareing, allowing him his own benefisto. Despite that, Hoffman and Bates are supportive, as is the entire cast, making this film very touching, profound and full of deep meaning.  At times the viewer will find themselves crying and a bit sentimental due to the moving story, which will touch the heart of even the indifferent viewer. The beautiful classic music and the solid performance of its cast, makes me regret missing the World Premiere of this film at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Boychoir, is a heartwarming, sentimental film; It shows us how important it is not to misdirect young and angry children, who need our support more than ever. Only because of one person, Stet gets the chance of a lifetime, allowing him to grow and to become a well respected human being, which is so important in our society. This film has a lot of life lessons, especially for those who think it`s already too late. But believe me, after seeing Boychoir, you will realize one thing – this is just the beginning of a beautiful journey; for a full and beautiful life…

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