The story is simple, and maybe even a little conventional, but sometimes simplicity works best. Set in the disillusioned, post-war France in 1949, "The Chorus" follows the story of a failed musician, Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot), newly appointed as a teacher in the Fond De L'Etang - '"Bottom of the Pond" boarding school for difficult boys. Having seen that none of his gentle methods with the kids have worked to discipline, and gain their respect, he tries a radical idea. He goes back to what he knows best - music, and to the dismay of the heartless Headmaster Rachin (Francois Berléand), forms a choir. In the angel faced good boy gone bad, Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier), he finds his star, and together with the other boys on board, they bring new life to the once miserable school, with each tune they sing.
If you somehow feel let down by the simplicity of the story, the extraordinary characters, picturesque cinematography and the brilliant music will completely make it up to you, and then some.
Probably the most charming movie since 2001's "Amélie", "The Chorus"'s spectacular array of characters can be thanked for that. Throughout the movie, we see a spectrum of personalities shining through, from the malicious Rachin, to the compassionate Monsieur Mathieu. Some of the most touching scenes in the movie belong to p'tit Pépinot (Maxence Perrin), the youngest boy in the school, an orphan, who waits by the gates every Saturday, believing his father will pick him up.
The atmosphere created in "The Chorus" is fascinating. The ancient provincial town, the run-down school, French landscapes, and the outdated couture create an authentic nostalgic mood, which bittersweetly takes you back decades and reminds you of your own childhood.
Perhaps the most touching and beautiful part of this movie is the music. The subtle melodies and the angelic voices will have your emotions going up and down like a rollercoaster ride - even so, a very fun ride. The musical gems include "Vois sur ton Chemin" (nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Song category), and the "Caresse sur l'océan".
"The Chorus" is an exquisite movie, one of the best movies of the year. The story is simple, charming and sincere, yet so realistic and magical at the same time, you can't help but fall in love with it. Apart from the characters, and the music, the most impressive feature of the film is that in the end, you come out with your spirits high, uplifted by the positive message. You come out with a smile on your face ... and maybe a tear or two.