Alternative cinema for big kids, part two

Jordan came home on Saturday! We were on our way to the airport (in a veritable monsoon) when we got a call from her that Hobby Airport in Houston had closed due to weather, and she had been diverted to Midland. Midland is a good 450 miles from us, so she was left to the mercy of the airlines. She eventually made it to Houston around one in the morning. We scooped her up, threw her in the truck, and brought her home. I breathed a sigh of relief to have all of my kids under my roof and I'm considering holding her hostage in the attic.

Along with Jordan came a whole load of stuff that had previously been stuffed into her tiny dorm room -- including a pretty decent movie collection. Two of our family's favorite movies went away to college with Jordan, and we're happy to have them back as well.  


The first is Lagaan (2001) - an Indian musical depicting a farming village's conflict with British rule (meaning a group of rag-tag farmers challenge the Brits to a cricket match to settle a tax dispute). There is a handsome hero, a beautiful maiden, and the emotional charge of a community banding together for a common cause. Plus, there's the cricket -- think A League of Own meets Bollywood -- except better. Also, the underdog vs. superpower motif in this movie tugs firmly on your heartstrings. It's so much fun to root for the underdog! Your kids will be on the edge of their seats in the final cricket match. I promise.

Sterling was introduced to this movie in business school, and when he brought home a copy for our then fourth and fifth graders to watch, I was skeptical. The movie is four hours long and subtitled. Really? But the girls loved it and have continued to watch it over the years. As Rebecca and Parker became proficient readers they joined in as well. And get this, Jordan claims to understand the rules of cricket because of this movie. What American girl understands cricket? We've shared it with multiple friends over the years -- everyone has been a fan. 

Buy the DVD here.


And second, Les Choristes (The Chorus, 2004), tells the story of a teacher at a troubled boys school in 1949 in France (this is subtitled as well). Initially the boys are undisciplined and the headmaster is cruel and villainous, but Monsieur Mathieu starts a boys choir as a way of connecting with the students. It's sort of a sophisticated mix of Mr. Holland's Opus and Lean on Me. The music is other-worldly and the young Jean-Baptiste Maunier is superb. My girls saw this movie in their high school (or maybe junior high) French class, and couldn't stop talking about the storyline (and the cute Pierre). Watching this makes me want to hop on the next plane to France. As does eating croissants. Or macarons.  [Note: There are a few isolated incidents of of objectionable language in the movie, which are made more apparent by subtitles, so you may want to preview the film first for younger kids.]

Available on Amazon Instant Video here.
Buy the DVD here.