Synopsis by Mark Deming
A dedicated teacher learns some important lessons about himself years after he retired from the classroom in this drama. William Hundert (Kevin Kline) is an instructor at St. Benedict's School for Boys, an exclusive private academy on the East Coast where Hundert drills his charges on the moral lessons to be learned through the study of Greek and Roman philosophers. Hundert is fond of telling his students, "A man's character is his fate," and he strives to impress upon them the importance of the ordered and examined life. In 1976, however, Hundert finds himself with an especially challenging group of students -- party-minded Fred Masoudi (Jesse Eisenberg) , introverted Martin Blythe (Paul Dano), bright but mischievous Deepak Mehta (Rishi Mehta), and most notably, openly rebellious Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch). The son of a powerful politician, Bell pointedly runs against the current of Hundert's example, questioning the importance of the material, flouting the school's rules, talking out of turn in class, and devoting as much time to his interest in girls as in his studies. However, Hundert sees the possibility of great things in Bell, and encourages him to take part in the school's annual academic competition for the title of Mr. Julius Caesar. Hundert even goes so far as to bend the rules in scoring to favor Bell in the early stages of the contest, but his faith is betrayed when Bell is discovered cheating during the contest finals. Years later, Hundert is reunited with his students, where they learn the years have taught them all a great deal about their virtues and weaknesses. The Emperor's Club also features Harris Yulin, Rob Morrow, and Edward Herrmann.
boys'-school, ethics, teacher, boarding-school, cheating, conscience, crisis-of-conscience, Latin [language], upper-class
High Artistic Quality