Film review: Tenor (2022)

Tenor // By Claude Zidi Jr. With Michèle Laroque, Mohammed Belkhir and Guillaume Duhesme.

Ténor fits perfectly into this countless number of French films about completeness, diversity and talents that come from the suburbs immersed in worlds that are their opposite. We had Le Brio (2017) in the world of eloquence, Haut et Fort (2021) in the world of female hip hop in Casablanca, etc. The alliance between rap and opera is ultimately what holds Tenor. This creates a real common thread that gives the film a slightly more original look than the story in the background, which turns out to be quite conventional and smooth. The characters are endearing and Antoine (played by a former talent from The Voice, MB14) immediately turns out to be the designated hero. We want to follow his adventures, his desire to get out of it and also to live music which turns out to be his passion. It is by discovering opera that he will discover a real vocation (particularly through his voice). Tenor is sometimes a bit surreal but it is also the wish of this social fable, to tell that everything is possible when you give yourself the means.

Antoine, a young Parisian suburbanite, studies accounting without much conviction, dividing his time between the rap battles he practices with talent and his job as a sushi delivery boy. During a trip to the Opéra Garnier, his path crosses that of Mrs. Loyseau, singing teacher in the venerable institution, who detects in Antoine a raw talent to hatch. Despite his lack of lyrical culture, Antoine was fascinated by this form of expression and was convinced to follow Mrs. Loyseau’s teaching. Antoine has no choice but to lie to his family, his friends and the whole city for whom opera is a bourgeois thing, far from their world.

Michèle Laroque, whom I tend to find silly in her own films, offers here a restrained and endearing composition. It even allows you to shed a tear at the end of the film, which I didn’t expect at all. Tenor adds to his story a kind of militancy that is neither stuffy nor boring. This is even what also makes the richness and diversity of the film. By confronting two very different universes, Tenor manages despite all his faults to put them together. The rest of the story is very scholarly and academic. The staging is too soft to do honor to the subject and to the cinema itself. We are therefore rather in front of a luxury TV movie, a genre in its own right of French cinema. This in no way detracts from the fact that we discover here the talent of Mohammed Belkhir as an actor. It has potential and proves to be more than convincing here. Tenor is therefore a classic film which will not be remembered but which has the merit of giving its spectators a good time when the music sounds.

Rating: 5/10. In short, a soft staging and a fairly classic and smooth adventure that is saved by its unexpected acting duo and a confrontation of musical genres that go together more than well.

Released on March 4, 2022 in cinemas – Available on VOD and DVD

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