Shirl P. (busfaretokentucky) Reviewed on 11/10/2014...
Sonja M. Reviewed on 1/18/2011...
This movie was uncomfortable to watch because I felt so sorry for the teacher, who made a mistake by dishonestly grading a student. The dishonest grading had significant ramifications for both the student who received the higher grade, and the student who was passed over for further recognition because he fell behind the other student. I don't think the teacher ever fully forgave himself for this one error in judgment. In that way, though he really did do something wrong, I wish he had been more honest earlier in his life, than carry the pain and disappointment that he had with himself for his entire career. It was kind of depressing.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
An Outstanding and Genuine Triumph
Michael Crane | Orland Park, IL USA | 09/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had no idea how much I would end up enjoying this wonderful and awe-inspiring film. I was worried that it was going to try to be another "Dead Poets Society." To my surprise, it isn't. In fact, I'll even go further and say that I thought this was a lot better. "The Emperor's Club" is a powerful and gripping drama about principle, virtue and ethical compromises.The story revolves around a teacher, William Hundert. He's a passionate man who loves what he does and hopes that he is actually having an impact on his students with his teachings. Things get complicated when he meets a new student, Sedgewick Bell. The kid is a troublemaker who cries out for attention with his actions. However, Hundert is convinced that he can turn him around and help him learn something from his class; not only that, but he hopes that he can learn something about life itself. Hundert believes in him so much that he is even willing to make a great compromise that will have an absolute impact in some way, whether it be positive or negative. The results are surprising and unexpected, but the overall product is an outstanding movie that makes you think twice about your life.This was really a great film that had me surprised all the way. I had no idea how deep and effective it would end up being. When you see "The Emperor's Club," it actually makes you want to look at your life right then and there. You realize that you do want to live a life of honor, virtue and principle. We tend to live in a society that forgets about these important qualities sometimes; this being dubbed, "The Real World." However, this does not mean that we have to forget or overlook these things. It is possible to still have virtue in one's life.Everything about this movie is remarkable. It has some great acting, a terrific script, and a genuine and authentic direction. Kevin Klein is amazing as William Hundert. It's a crime that he did not receive an Academy Award for his performance in this underrated film; or at least he should've been nominated for one. He is able to portray a great and wonderful character; also, he is able to play a character with realistic flaws that reminds us that he is a human-being. This is something we rarely see in films; as we are always given the impression that teachers are invincible and flawless when they are usually portrayed in films.The DVD has some nice extra features to go along with it. The picture and sound quality is great. You can even watch it in DTS if you have the right system for it. The special features included are deleted scenes, commentary from the director, a making-of special and more. A pretty nice package, if you ask me."The Emperor's Club" is a wonderful experience that should be enjoyed by all. If you have not seen this yet, do yourself a favor; pick this up the next time you're at a video store. Already becoming a favorite of mine in so little time, "The Emperor's Club" is a unique and gripping film about what it takes to live an honorable life. Don't miss out on this great experience."
A Man's True Worth
Catherine M. Dorkin | Toronto, Ontario, Canada | 10/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Emperor's Club is a movie of man's dedication to oneself, to his family and honour of teacher and school. A distinguished, privated boys boarding school revels in discipline and making sure that young boys turn into great men. One of the teachers, Mr. Herdunt was able to mold his young breed by lecturing them on the Ancient Civilization from Caeser to Socratos...
Revolving around this one teacher...and four students: the exchange student from India, the boy who is to live up to the expectations of his father (Martin), the good boy and lastly, the intolerant, underdisciplined boy. The latter boy, Belle, needs to be worked with and Herdunt is able to do that for him. Encouraging him and assuring him of his smartness he does work and does do well. Each year at this school, a competition is held to find out who can reign for the year as Mr. Julius Caeser. The competition is based on history of the ancient world. Like in a spelling bee, whomever is left over wins the crown of leaves and earns the title of Mr. Julius Caeser. Three of the four boys mentioned above are in the final competition.
25 years after graduation, where Herdunt proclaims he failed Belle as a teacher, there is a reunion. And a rematch of the Julius Caeser competition, with the same three boys.
I admit, this is not a movie I would have gone to if I had only seen a trailer. But, when you have a preview ticket, who would give it up? I assure you, you will not be disappointed. The commrodity of student/teacher and student/student is amazing. It makes you want to wish all schools were like this. A fabulous movie that will live your heart uplifted and a new, wonderful look toward teachers."
HONOR AND DEDICATION
Mr D. | Cave Creek, Az United States | 02/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm writing this review in response to those who deemed this movie not worthy. It is in fact a wonderful story about human nature (both good and bad), honor, decency, ethics, values, leadership and the impact, for good, that dedicated scholars and teachers can have upon our impressionable youngsters. The story takes place in a upscale prep academy in New England named Saint Benedicts School for Boys. OUR TEACHER
"It is not living that is important but living rightly. How will history judge you?" Roman and Greek civilization teacher, William Hundert is magnificently played by Kevin Kline. Our teacher is a honorable and principled man, striving to inspire his students to be ethical and moral by being such a model.
Mr Hundert truly enjoys his work. Teaching young boys and trying to influence and mold their character is his lifes work and he is truly in his element. THE STUDENTS
"Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance. What will your contribution be?" The story centers around Mr Hundert and four students, Martin Blyth, Freddie Masoudi, Deepak Mehta and a troubled young man named Sedgewick Bell. Martin Blyth, whose father is an alum and past winner of The Emperor's Club (A contest not unlike a spelling bee), feels pressure to replicate his fathers achievement. Freddie Masoudi is somewhat of a character and Deepak Mehta is of East Indian descent and academic background. Sedgewick Bell is an unhappy young man, whose father, as a U.S. Senator, has pretty much ignored Sedgewick his whole life. Because of this, Sedgewick has a knack for entertaining himself, usually by methods that get him into trouble. Sedgewick, though troubled, is a born leader, with charm and charisma and soon the other three boys are drawn like a magnet to pal around with him and by association they also get in trouble. The Plot
"All of us are forced to look in the mirror and see who we really are." Mr Hundert is a wonderful teacher, just the kind you would wish for your own children, however, when confronted with a problem child, Sedgewick Bell, son of Senator Hyram Bell, he bends a rule or two which he lives to regret. Sedgewick is a late addition to Hundert's class and seems to want to test Hundert at every opportunity. From Mr. Hundert's perspective, Sedgewick for some reason reminds him of himself and therefore he makes every effort to light a fire under Sedgewick. After numerous incidents involving Sedgewick, which include attempting to skinny dip across the lake at the girls school and likening Hunderts beloved Roman Emperors to the Beatles and the Seven Dwarves, Hundert meets with the boys father, the Senator where he learns firsthand the cause of the problem. Undaunted, Hunert redoubles his efforts with Sedgewick and then seemingly and inexplicably starts to make progress. Sedgewick ostensibly becomes a model student and Hundert is quite pleased with himself. But who is influencing whom? It seems Mr. Hundert is making small concession after concession toward or for the benefit of our erstwhile troublesome student A yearly event at St Benedicts is the Emperor's Club contest, whereas the top three students in Hundert's class get to face off in front of the students and faculty.
Hundert, after just finishing grading the classes, essay type, Finals papers, notices that Sedgewick is in fourth place just behind Martin Blyth. Hundert then makes a dubious decision, which doesn't exactly work out by increasing Sedgewicks grade to place him in the contest. Though it was within his right to make this adjustment, it is in Hundert's mind, a blemish upon his integrity. Twenty Five Years Later Sedgewick now CEO of one of the largest companies in the world recreates the Emperor's Club contest in which he lost earlier and in which Hundert caught but did not expose him cheating. Mr. Hundert and the other students are brought in, all expenses paid toward this purpose. Hundert will again be the M.C. and Masoudi and Metha will again contest Sedgewick and Mr. Hundert will be honored as the great teacher he is. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way. Side Stories Two interesting side stories take place which bear mentioning. Hundert is obviously in love with a staff member named Elizabeth and she him. However she is married and Hundert's code of honor will not allow him to do anything. A new teacher, Charles Ellerby a protege of Hundert's is quite the politician and when it's time for the board to name a new headmaster, Hundert, to his total surprise, is passed over in favor of Ellerby. Hundert, noting the slight, resigns on the spot."
An engrossing tale, well acted by Kevin Kline
William Merrill | San Antonio, TX United States | 11/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Emperor's Club was one of the best films about a teacher that I've seen. It was a refreshing and rewarding movie because the story kept my interest without ever slipping into Hollywood's normal excessive sentimentality or easy plot turns. Kevin Kline was perfectly cast as a history teacher at an exclusive boy's school (Mr. Hundert, not "Herdunt"), and his struggles with a difficult student (Bell) didn't always unfold the way I thought they would.Hundert faced various moral dilemmas during the story. The situations that led to those dilemmas and the teacher's decisions were both presented in realistic ways. Who knows how any of us would have have handled similar decisions? In fact, I saw the film with a teacher friend who remarked about the movie's accuracy, that indeed sometimes teachers must decide whether to grade a student higher than merited (to inspire) or give the appropriate grade and risk de-motivation.The best thing about The Emperor's Club was the gracefulness and subtlety in how the story was told, epitomized by its untidy yet still satisfying conclusion. It's a movie that will lead to active discussions between moviegoers after leaving the theater."
All Hail Kevin Kline
Roland E. Zwick | Valencia, Ca USA | 07/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"From ?Goodbye Mr. Chips? in the 1930?s to ?Dead Poet?s Society? in the 1980?s, the movies have had a long-running love affair with inspirational, sentimental stories set at ivy-covered, collegiate-gothic, all-male prep schools. These films inevitably center around a beloved teacher and the lifelong bond he forges with his devoted students. The latest addition to the genre ? a successful one ? is ?The Emperor?s Club,? with Kevin Kline assuming the role of the teacher who considers it his duty not only to instruct his students in the details of classical history but to mold them into men of integrity and character in the process. ?The Emperor?s Club? follows the standard formula up to a point. William Hundert is the most highly respected faculty member at St. Benedict?s Academy. He is able to bring the history of the ancient Greeks and Romans to vivid life for his admittedly highly motivated young charges. Then, one day, into his classroom strides Sedgwick Bell, a bright, highly unmotivated student who would rather mock the stuffiness of education and inspire his buddies to feats of rabblerousing than devote his life to the serious pursuit of academia. It, thus, becomes Hundert?s job to turn Sedgwick around, a feat that always seems much easier to accomplish in the movies than it ever is in real life.?The Emperor?s Club,? after its rather conventional beginning, deviates from its predecessors in one key respect: Hundert, though a man of values and integrity, is not above compromise himself, and he winds up making a very serious one, the ramifications of which he has to live with for many years to come. Rather than showing him as some sort of saintly figure, screenwriter Neil Tolkin (working from a short story by Ethan Canin) and director Michael Hoffman allow Hundert?s humanity to shine through. He is a flawed individual who permits personal feelings to cloud his judgments and who is willing, once he has created a problem, to allow the truth of his own guilt to remain hidden even when innocent victims suffer as a result of his actions. ?The Emperor?s Club? is also notable for its clear-eyed recognition that not all situations in life need have a satisfying resolution, that some people simply do not acknowledge their own failings and, therefore, never develop into morally superior people no matter how many experiences life throws at them. Yet, what breaks Hundert?s heart is the recognition he comes to that such a person is often times more highly rewarded by the world than the man who follows along the straight-and-narrow path all his life.Kline gives a superb performance as Hundert, capturing the quiet dignity, understated passion and conflicted conscience of a man who loves his boys and who tries to do the right thing but who, like the rest of us, doesn?t always succeed in doing so. Emile Hirsch is also excellent as young Sedgwick, the boy whose need for attention and lack of moral guidance from his father lead him to accept the winning-at-all-cost philosophy to get him through life.?The Emperor?s Club,? despite having its roots firmly planted in a grand storytelling tradition, still manages to take us into new territory from time to time ? and its recognition of the importance of education and academics (we actually get to learn a little about Roman history while watching the movie) makes it virtually unique among films of its time."