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Based on 32 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 25
    Peter Travers Rolling Stone

    Director Michael Hoffman sprays on the tears like a toxic mist. Avoid like the plague. show more

  • 75
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    A substantial examination of character, morality and destiny. show more

  • 63
    Mike Clark USA Today

    Though the plot ends up taking some potentially compelling twists, its telling always feels manipulative. show more

  • 20
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    A movie's script is its fate, which means this one is doomed. show more

  • 50
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    Don't blame Kline. This most thoughtful of actors is trapped behind the lectern of a film that spouts contradictory lessons it can't reconcile. show more

  • 63
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    The ethical issues driving Michael Hoffman's The Emperor's Club almost outweigh the improbable arc of its story, and Kevin Kline's endearing performance as a prep school classics teacher is almost worth the price of admission. show more

  • 75
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    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. show more

  • 75
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    There's still quite a bit of the essence of "Dead Poets Society" in The Emperor's Club. Thankfully, however, the level of schmaltz and manipulation has been greatly reduced. show more

  • 75
    Lawrence Toppman Charlotte Observer

    Like the story, Kline builds in intensity: He has no flowery speeches that would be untrue to his character, but he leaves a clear impression of a man who values knowledge and the imparting of it above all else. show more

  • 63
    Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune

    It's an extraordinary performance in an often brave and intelligent film that, unfortunately, tends to collapse around him in the end -- just as the world of Kline's character, tweedy but likable William Hundert, deconstructs around him. show more

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