Imported from France. where it is one of the year's most popular films, "The Concert" opens in Moscow, where we meet the janitor of the Bolshoi Orchestra and learn his story.
Once a great conductor, the state banished him and his orchestra for the crime of using Jewish musicians.
"The Concert" gives us a history lesson as this banishment occurs not during World War II, but instead in 1980. Now cleaning the offices he once ruled, the janitor notices a fax, takes it from the machine, and learns the orchestra has received a last-minute invitation to perform in Paris.
The banished janitor hatches a scheme to reunite his musicians, pose as the Bolshoi, and travel to Paris to perform. Once in France, the story turns serious with the introduction of Melanie Laurent (the icy blonde in Tarrantino's "Inglourious Basterds"). We learn of her escape as an infant from Russia to France where she grows into a violin prodigy.
The Concert that takes up the last third of the movie left many in tears.
Does it deliver what it promises? Comedy, drama, and music.
Is it entertaining? Very.
Is it worth the price of admission? One of the year's best.
"The Concert", 4 stars. Opens August 5.