Newcomer Garrett Wareing goes toe-to-toe with Dustin Hoffman in this rousing story of a determined, angel-voiced loner who elicits some real jealousy from his fellow students while earning the respect of the strict choirmaster of the prestigious American Boychoir School. When his  alcoholic mum meets a tragic end, 11-year-old Stet (Wareing) is unceremoniously transplanted from Texas squalor to the posh confines of the elite East Coast boarding school.

Making the transition all the more daunting for the wild child are Carvelle’s (Hoffman) authoritarian tactics and exacting standards. The threat of puberty robbing Stet of his pure soprano voice before he’s realized his potential lends a rather unique ‘running clock’ urgency to the film, which also boasts rousing flourishes of rebellious energy reminiscent of classic 50s teen movies. As a fierce battle of wills ensues, the spiralling drama is heightened by director François Girard’s (The Red Violin, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould) sublime use of the boys’ choral performances. It’s wonderful to see Girard being celebrated as one of “the most sought-after interpreters of the American experience.”

Vancouver International Film Festival

Please note that the festival is for over 18s only