RE-View, with Matt Murphy, DEX columnist
SO WHO liked Billy Elliott? And who loves Glee? Harry Potter? 8 mile even? If so, mix them all up and 'Grey-ify' (my word for adapting for an aging demographic) and you've got the latest 'boy from the wrong side of the tracks/with incredible talent/in a world he's unfamiliar with/against the wall/coming of age/feel good story'.
In a world of endless television talent shows where we are all told we are special and just a lucky break away from being a star - better that, a celebrity - this little film evokes the great American dream that anyone from anywhere can make it to the top. That is, if you deem being a singer in a Boy choir 'the top'.
Well it is for Stet Tate, a young troublesome pre-pubescent (yes it's relevant) boy from inner city America with an alcoholic mother and a bleak future. His is a story of many no doubt, potentially lost in an ever-under sourced school system. However Stet has one incredible talent - a voice like an angel. But more importantly, he has a principal (Debra Winger) that believes in him and gives him that single window of opportunity into a more privileged world of the American Boy Choir.
But can Stet take it?
Enter Dustin Hoffman as the voice whisperer - able to inspire gifted children with his no-nonsense gravitas and direct their soaring vocals into awe-inspiring chorus singing. As long as the acoustics are right.
With an experienced cast including a sassy Kathy Bates, unscrupulous Eddie Izzard and Josh Lucas as the conflicted, returning father, Boychoir hits all the right notes (sorry) - if perhaps a little familiar.
Some more interesting sub plotting surfaces late like the boys small window of career before they 'develop' and their voices disappear forever. Apparently producing a Castrato is not politically correct anymore. Who'd of thought.
But as Dustin says "The lessons are the point".
Warning - A tissue or two was needed by the person next to me.
Matt Murphy is a Grafton film-buff with a background in screenwriting, video production and editing. Having tackled the rat race and city-life, he moved back to the Clarence where he lives surrounded by family and friends.