Entertain Your Brain!
Home | Movies | TV | Music | Books | Video Games | FAQ | Links

Web entertainyourbrain.com

Sign up below to get
the FREE Entertain Your Brain
Weekly Newsletter today!


Powered by

LinkShare  Referral  Prg


The Emperor's Club Review

By Shawn McKenzie 11/27/2002

Admit it, when you first saw trailers for The Emperor’s Club, you were thinking to yourself (in the style of David Spade’s “Hollywood Minute”), “I liked this movie the first time I saw it…when it was called Dead Poet’s Society.” Yes, I thought the same thing too. After watching the movie, I am singing a slightly different tune, because while it does share some elements with Dead Poet’s Society, I think it has a very different direction.

William Hundert (Kevin Kline) is a teacher who's tried to inspire his range of students over the past 34 years to improve themselves and try to do great things with their lives.  He tended to use mainly important Roman and Greek historical figures to make his points.  He has been invited by one of his former students, Sedgewick Bell (Joel Gretsch), to a reunion of the class in which he taught Bell and his fellow former classmates.  As Hundert gets ready for the weekend's activities, he flashes back to when he first met Bell (Emile Hirsch) back in 1976 at St. Benedicts Academy for Boys.  Over the years he works for Headmaster Woodbridge (Edward Herrmann) and later with Charles Ellerby (Rob Morrow.)  It also appears that he is having an affair with his married colleague Elizabeth (Embeth Davidtz.)  He is able to influence students Martin Blythe (Paul Dano), Deepak Mehta (Rishi Mehta), and Louis Masoudi (Jesse Eisenberg), but he seems to have trouble with Bell.  The son of U.S. Senator Bell (Harris Yulin), the boy is a pain in the butt, and it's not long before he's breaking the rules and making trouble in Hundert's class.  After a meeting with Senator Dad sort of straightens the kid out, Hundert takes it upon himself to personally encourage the junior Bell to better himself.  He also talks him into participating in the prestigious Julius Caesar contest and it's not long before Hundert must chose the three finalists.  He is faced with a hard choice of doing the morally correct thing or bending the rules in order to help Bell, with the thinking that it will set the boy on the right track.  His choice haunts him and has ramifications in later years, all of which he witnesses and deals with at the reunion.

The reason why The Emperor’s Club is different from Dead Poet’s Society is because it attempts to focus on what the teacher learns and less what he teaches his students.  It is an interesting examination on the choices we make in life and the motivation behind them.

The performances in this movie are great, and also different in style from Dead Poet’s Society.  Kline plays his character as a stuffy teacher who learns to loosen up, whereas Robin Williams was the loosened up teacher who taught the stuffy kids.  Everyone else’s performances were fine, though the plotline with Elizabeth went nowhere.

If you liked Dead Poet’s Society, you will like The Emperor’s Club, but realize that they are definitely not the same movie.  It probably won’t appeal to everyone and it is a manipulative tearjerker, but it is a sweet little film with a interesting little twist in the last third of the movie that takes place in the present at the reunion.  I don’t know if the Academy will warm to this movie, since it probably won’t do gangbuster business at the box office and it is slightly syrupy, but I have been surprised before.  Maybe Oscar will want to join this Club.


Get the original soundtrack score composed by James Newton Howard:

Emperor's Club (Score)

Buy this album at

Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

Return home               Return to Movies

[Home] [Movies] [TV] [Music] [Books] [Video Games] [FAQ] [Links]

Send mail to shawn@entertainyourbrain.com with questions or comments about this web site. Please indicate in your email that you are writing about www.EntertainYourBrain.com
Copyright © 2002-2010  www.EntertainYourBrain.com   
Advertise with Entertain Your Brain
Hosting provided by Webreferral Service Inc. 303-322-1234  www.webmarketing101.com