DVD Review: Boychoir (USA, 2014)

The illegitimate child of an alcoholic mother and an absent father preoccupied with his pre-existing family, youngster Stet (Garrett Wareing) spends most of his time in detention, acting out. However, he has tremendous musical talent, in which Ms. Steel (Debra Winger) recognises, and organises for him to audition for the ‘Boychoir’, fronted by the great Anton Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman).

Once enrolled at Carvelle’s private boarding school, Stet soon becomes encapsulated with drama between his bratty classmates, specifically Devon (Joe West), who fuelled by his jealous, attempts to sabotage Stet on several occasions. Due to his raw talent, Stet overcomes this adversity and succeeds as the top singer of the choir.

If this sounds like your typical Hallmark film, it’s because it is. What could have been an interesting exploration of the nature of music success (à la Whiplash), Boychoir instead falls into the trap of being far too predictable, adopting clichéd characters in order to tell a predictable narrative. François Girard struggles to demonstrate his real talent, instead opting to stick to a safe bet.

The saviour of this film is in its adult cast; Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Eddie Izzard, and Kevin McHale. Each actor offers a raw legitimacy to the film, transforming it from a foreseeable, elementary story to a foreseeable, elementary story with an edge. Specifically, Kathy Bates performance in this movie is stellar, albeit limited. Although the narrative is something that is hard to undo, Bates works with it, depicting a character that, quite frankly, is one of the only real, accurate depictions of humans in the movie. In a way, she almost reflects the audiences sentiment. Acting as the voice of reason, she blatantly expresses how ridiculous Stet’s treatment is, thrusting the film into some sort of action.

In essence, before you even see Boychoir, you know what is going to happen. Despite its predictability, the films saving grace is in its raw performances that transform the narrative into something with a little edge. If you’re interested in a deep movie that explores the nature of the music industry – stay at home. If you’re after a simple viewing pleasure with a nice soundtrack, get some popcorn and catch this one. Come in with little expectations and you’re bound to have a good time (maybe just don’t watch the trailer below, since it summaries the entire movie into a nice and concise two minutes).

Review Score: TWO AND A HALF (OUT OF FIVE)

This release contains no special features.

Boychoir is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital now.

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