The Emperor's Club
Title: The Emperor's Club
When a new student starts in Professor Hundert’s class, little does he know she will change his life forever. They start out butting heads and end up forming a friendship that will shake his controlled world. The lessons learned will last a lifetime.
Comparisons to Dead Poets Society are inevitable, but The Emperor’s Club achieves a rich identity all its own. In the honorable tradition of great teacher dramas like Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Kevin Kline is well cast as Mr. Hundert, longtime teacher of classics and assistant headmaster of St. Benedict’s Academy for Boys. There he encounters a defiant student and senator’s son (Emile Hirsch) who desperately needs—but ultimately rejects—Hundert’s lessons on leadership, integrity, and the shaping of character. Adapted from Ethan Canin’s short story “The Palace Thief,” the film is conventional to a fault, its flashback structure unfolding in Hollywood shorthand. But its noble sentiments remain potently intact, allowing Kline a performance of great emotional nuance while imparting lessons of universal value.