The Emperors Club
St. Benedict School for Boys assistant headmaster William Hundert (Kevin Kline) teaches teenage boys life’s lessons through the study of the Classics. In 1972 the highly respected teacher meets the challenge of his career when arrogant Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch) saunters into his classroom with a smirk on his face. To win him over and to preserve his other students’ eagerness to excel, Hundert challenges Sedgewick to enter the annual Emperor’s Club competition. But in his quest to reform Sedgewick, the teacher’s idealism clashes with a cruel taste of realism. Twenty-five years later, Hundert is invited to a reunion of the class of 1972, where he reconnects with his now mature former students.
Uplifting, unpredictable and inspirational, THE EMPEROR’S CLUB honors teachers who dedicate their lives to make a positive difference. What a lovely way to start the holidays. Hundert wrestles with his conscience as he compromises his principles to encourage Sedgewick. Will the teacher’s vote of confidence in a borderline student justify cheating a more deserving student of a chance for a college scholarship? Sedgewick lies, cheats and manipulates his friends, and, like one rotten apple ruining a barrel of apples, his influence on the other students spreads quickly. He shares his stash of porn magazines with them and talks them into sneaking over to the girls’ school across the lake and going skinny dipping. Glimpses of magazine pictures and some crude remarks about them are mildly suggestive and nudity is only implied in the skinny dipping scene. The film’s four obscenities and 10 profanities, make it a perfect candidate for a filtering device such as TVGuardian. Anyone ever influenced by a teacher (isn’t that all of us?) will find much to admire in THE EMPEROR’S CLUB.