Daniel Daréus (Michael Nyqvist) is a famous conductor who is forced to retire to his childhood Swedish village after suffering a heart attack. Once back, he is introduced to the enthusiastic but talentless local Lutheran choir, as well as a number of small-town problems plaguing the community.
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A surprising choice for an Oscar nomination as it is really just a soap opera dressed in a choir's clothes. A conductor moves back to his hometown and takes on the duties of cantor and tries to realize his dreams of creating a music that 'opens up people's souls'. Uh huh. Mix in domestic violence, unrequited love, possible divorce and mental illness and you have the land of afternoon drama. Not a waste but...
The poor romantic subplot, the cliche character development and cliche depiction off small towns are quite a shame since the importance the film wants to bring to finding your voice, literally and symbolically, is beautiful. #singyourselffree
I'm not against sap when it's so beautifully depicted. "Nyquist, lanky and charismatic, makes a fine reluctant savior. The villains are obvious, and the ending’s a foregone conclusion. But it’s done with such thrumming revelation and infectious joy, I instantly forgave any and all [cinematic] sins that [come with it]." - Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle
Some lovely cinematography in moments, but paints a cliche caricature. He studied in the academy but animates over a cassette tape of a "pretty" voice singing an obvious, modal melody in 1-4-5? Maybe she's precious, but his giddiness alone in a room over what is obviously only impressive to a small child bothers a viewer who was hoping for something a little more honest or researched in a film about musicians...
Has the shallow, rushed feel of a movie edited down from twice its length. Clichéd “emotional” subplots and characters are trotted out and exploited without earning any of their implied gravity as if the filmmakers were relying exclusively on the audience's recall of other, better films.