Director: François Girard.
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Garrett Wareing, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger. USA 2014. 103 mins.
Following his mother’s fatal car crash, troubled eleven-year-old Stet (talented newcomer Wareing) reluctantly agrees to attend an elite choral college, his place there secured thanks to the efforts of the headmistress (Winger) of his rundown Texan school. Recognising Stet’s natural talent, the college’s demanding choirmaster (Hoffman) and his assistant (Izzard) push him with a regime of rigorous discipline. Stet’s lowly background leads to much bullying from his classmates, and only the world-weary headmistress (Kathy Bates) champions the boy. He must also come to terms with an unexpected reunion with his wealthy absentee father (Josh Lucas).
Canadian director François Girard (The Red Violin) exhibits a canny empathy for his characters and subject matter, perfectly matched by Ben Ripley’s equally astute and suspenseful script in this delightful drama.