Gosh what can I say? J’adore le film<3 (Well, it doesn’t take anyone who learns French to understand that sentence!)
It was a really good watch and I think that it indeeds earns the reputation that it has now. Basically, it’s about a teacher, Mathieu, who thinks that he has failed in every aspect of life and he finds a job at a boarding school that is meant for troubled children. During his first few days there, he witnesses the harsh and brutal discipline carried out by the headmaster, Rachin. Mathieu uses his own ways, love and humour to keep discipline within the boys and even forms a choir out of them. However, Rachin just has to constantly spoil the picture by disapproving what Mathieu has done, or to steal his credit. As the days go by, the boys fall deeper and deeper in love with singing and they become more obedient as well.
The overaching plot for this film is simple enough, but it succeeded by its portrayal of love. It is very heartwarming and touching to see how Mathieu changes the attitude of the students and their lives by his love for them and his unusual ways. This shows that discipline can only be truly enforced by love, and not by the infamous ‘lock-up’ that Rachin loves to carry out.
I think there’s so many subtle messages in this film that it takes a while to uncover them. In the end, Mathieu gets fired ( on a Saturday… I don’t really get that part! Can anyone explain it to me? Why did the narrator say that Pepinot was right and Mathieu was fired on a Saturday?) but he continues to teach music lessons and shares his love with others. I felt sad for him, I must admit. During the whole movie, it seems like there was potential for him to become famous, to become great, but ultimately even he knows that no one will know him and he will still remain as small as he is. Yet, I think it was interesting how… if you think about it the second time, he isn’t just that ‘small, small, small’ person as Rachin has pointed out! No, he definitely isn’t. What sets him apart from others is his love and his kind ways. Even though right at the start, he seems like a very minor character, such that Pierre seems not to be able to remember him, and at the end, he’s just another music teacher, but in the process, he has touched so many hearts of others. He doesn’t need to be famous just to do the things he love.
The acting’s certainly up to mark. Just by a look, and you know that Mathieu is in love with Pierre’s mother, and take another look and you can see the joy in Pierre’s eyes when he knew that he was forgiven by Mathieu. The music is lovable as well. It’s thus official that I’ve fallen in love with one of the songs ( Vois sur ton chemin)! It’s amazing how all these boys bring out the beauty of music. Music can really do a lot of things. It has a lot to do with the portrayal of feelings, and it’s even a lauguage and a bridge for people. In the end, it was music that allows the boys to give their last farewell to Mathieu ( I presume he went back to teach after Rachin is gone?)
Any film would have failed if the characters possess only a one-dimension personality. I love how Les Choristes brings out the two sides of every character. Even Rachin was portrayed as for a while, ( no matter how short that period was ), changing and turning into someone who is actually fun and young at heart. It does irritate me to no end that Rachin manages to steal the limelight for Mathieu. To me, that’s equaivelant of stealing someone’s hard work and creativity and that’s just totally sucky!
This film is of course, not perfect, but I really can’t pinpoint any flaw other than the slightly slow pace at some points. I have no idea if I’m largely biased since I love music, and I’m obviously mesmerized by their singing, but yes I do think it is quite a good watch. I do know that some people think it’s very cliche… but honestly speaking, if it’s like any other films, they would have made Moudain back into someone good, and made Mathieu famous. No? It really differs by each individual, I must say.
Not to mention that you can just watch Les Choristes for Jean-Baptiste Maunier. Heh:P