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THE EMPEROR'S CLUB

A professor with a passion for Greek philosophy tries to convert a rebellious student to his scholarly way of thinking and behaving, but lives to regret it.

CAST: Kevin Kline, Steven Culp, Embeth Davidtz, Patrick Dempsey, Joel Gretsch, Edward Herrmann, Emile Hirsch, Rob Morrow, Harris Yulin, Paul Dano, Jesse Eisenberg, Rishi Mehta, Roger Rees, Rahul Khanna

DIRECTOR: Michael Hoffman

"Much more than just another 'Dead Poets Society,' this is a film of enormous heart, compassion and intelligence that tackles vital issues with wrenching, thought-provoking honesty and cinematic skill. I really love everything it stands for. There will be bigger, noisier and flashier movies this year, but I haven't seen anything that has impressed me more." --Rex Reed, The New York Observer

"In Michael Hoffman's ham-handed prep-school drama Kevin Kline plays William Hundert, one of those Hollywood super-teachers who galvanizes his students with his passion for classical literature...Everything about 'The Emperor's Club' feels like recycled goods...Kline admirably resists the temptation to shtick up his character...the guy is incapable of giving a bad performance. He's got too much integrity, like his character. And just like Hundert, he has a soft spot for bad apples. Let's hope the worm-eaten 'Emperor's Club' will be his last before he wises up and goes psychotic like Robin Williams." --Jan Stuart, Newsday

"The cleverest thing about 'The Emperor's Club is that its style and methods hew closely to the conventions of prep-school melodrama (rent 'Dead Poets Society' if you need to brush up) even as the story quietly subverts them...'The Emperor's Club' carefully sets itself up as an obvious, transparent morality play, and then just as deliberately refuses the easy payoff. This is both impressive and a little disingenuous: the film is in effect congratulating itself for refusing to offer a neat and tidy view of life without offering much else." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Kline does his best with a part requiring much talk but little insight, in a film with unfortunate resemblances to 'Dead Poets Society'... Becomes simultaneously more ridiculous and more interesting in its final reel -- but it's too little, too late." --Bilge Ebiri, New York

"We are so accustomed to noble teachers that 'The Emperor's Club' surprises us by providing one who is dedicated, caring and skillful, but flawed. As a portrait of the escalator that speeds the sons of the rich upward toward power, it is unusually realistic. Kevin Kline's performance shows a deep understanding of the character, who is, after all, better than most teachers, and most men. We care for him, not because he is perfect, but because he regrets so sincerely that he is not." --Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"It's well crafted by director Michael Hoffman, not painful to sit through, and even contains some 21st century plot twists...But unless you have a predisposition toward this kind of thing, none of that is going to matter much...the problem with 'The Emperor's Club' is that it's neither substantial enough to overcome its short-story roots nor convincing enough to make us care which way the issue is resolved." --Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

"Kline has rarely been better, but the film's turgid pacing -- and a dreary romantic subplot involving fellow teacher Embeth Davidtz -- may put off the young audience that would benefit most from seeing a very rare Hollywood movie about moral values." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post