Within all of the captured footage, acclaimed director Bob Connelly (a multiple AFI winner) and his colleague Sophie Raymond have pieced together a relatively compelling journey, which sees these young girls grow and mature, overcome frustrations, low self-esteem, self-doubt, misbehaviour and bullying to create an incredible performance. These girls, in addition to their rehearsals, are actually completing the same studies as any other school, so the pressure we see them often succumb to, is genuine exhaustion and frustration. While Mrs. Carey's firm attitude to discipline and encouragement often portrays her in an unlikable light, her lofty expectations, her passion for music and her commitment to these children, this ragtag gang of privileged girls, cannot be faulted. The results during the lengthy coverage of the final concert speak for themselves.
There were times when the film was stretched to fill time with unnecessary drama, often pulling it from unlikely places and targeting one particular girl (Iris, the disinterested and unmotivated student) to heighten the tormented process of building the concert. The story of Emily Sun is certainly the most inspirational, after she is selected to be the soloist. The responsibility placed on her shoulders and the level of competency expected by Mrs Carey, takes a toll on the young girl, but she overcomes such obstacles with amazing poise. Cut into the inspiring and excellent final performance, the concert the entire school had been working towards all year, is the drama of Mrs. Carey's misplacement of her sheet music. While we build a rapport and hold hope for the success of these girls, we care little for banalities such as this. This is only a minor criticism, however. Overall, this rousing achievement is an ode to the transformative effect of music, passion, dedication and success.
My Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (B-)