Chevalier Movie Review

The film is set in the prelude to the Paris Revolution. Mozart is giving a concert and a man from the crowd asks if he could play Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. Five with him on stage. Mozart accepts, yet when he sees it’s a black man, well dressed though he is (his father supported his son so he would want for nothing), Mozart asks his audience, “Who put you up to this?” ​


Unsure, he allows the violinist, conductor and composer, Joseph Bologne (who we’ll now call Chevalier), upon the stage. They have a sort of showdown in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” style. Mozart seems to be having trouble being better or even as good as this stranger by whom he’s both mystified and angered. When it was over, Mozart asked the standing, cheering crowd, “Who the f*ck is that??”

Creative license was taken, but it was an outstanding scene, nonetheless.


After watching “Chevalier,” who’s played exceptionally well by Kelvin Harrison, Jr., I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn’t separate them or figure them out at the moment, except that I felt disgusted in how people treated and still do treat others if they’re of a specific skin tone. With the people of France rising against their government and the racism and treatment of women within the film, I felt as if the story was intentionally made to remind audience members of history and how it is often repeated. Pay attention, always.


Flashback tells us who Chevalier was and how he got to where he did. His father was a wealthy, well-known plantation owner who impregnated one of his slaves. Wanting him to have the best education, he asked that the boy be allowed to attend the best school in Paris… a school for white children. Once hearing the skill the boy had, he was allowed into the school, but made fun of and beaten up throughout his tenure there.


He knew he was hated, but Chevalier kept one thing in mind, something his father said before he left. “Be excellent. Don’t let people tear you down.” As he got older, he got rather good at both violin and fencing, beating most challengers, enjoying the looks on their faces when they knew it was the son of a black mother who brought them to their knees. He was called “the master of the sword” and “the maestro of the bow.”

Though he was black, only one year later, he befriends Queen Marie Antionette, who so loves him and his talents that she gives him the title of Chevalier de Saint-Georges.

He was then known as the “Black Mozart.”

He was loved by all, yet at his suggestion of a contest between him and another conductor for the rights to head the Paris Opera, he begins to fall.

This is mostly because he realizes how white people really feel about people with darker skin. He is warned to back off but believes he is still the best and wants the position he deserves.


He brings his mother to his home. She was now, oddly, his slave. Though this is the case, she reminds him of who he is to the white people of France. “You are a tourist in their world.” Before storming away from her, he tells her to spare him her worries and concerns because they’re too late. His words weren’t kind, but she loves her son and helps him every chance she gets.


In a particularly engaging scene, after the Marquis (Marton Csokas) carries out the worst evil Chevalier can imagine, she tells her son that the world for them is wicked and painful. They’re sold like goods. She reminds him that the greatest evil is making people believe they have no choice but “there is always the choice to fight.” He hears her clearly, taking her speech to heart.


I mutually felt both sadness and happiness for Chevalier. He had the whole of France at his feet, loved by all, yet just wanting to lead the Paris Opera, it all comes to an end. Contests were nothing new to Chevalier. Perhaps he could have let this one go? But as for the Marquis, the people would have taken care of him. They despised his existence. 


Anyway, the sets, wardrobe and cinematography were gorgeous, taking you to France for a while. The music by Kris Bowers (Green Book, King Richard) is out of this world, especially the last song played as Chevalier takes a stand and makes his final exit. I must add it to my Spotify.

See this at the theater starting today. Whether you like classical music or not, it’s about much more and the story of who this force was has the right to your attention. After, look him up. The story could have been a mini-series because there’s more to him than they could possibly show in one film. 



Directed by: Stephen Williams
Written by: Stefani Robinson

Starring: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Samara Weaving, Lucy Boynton, Minnie Driver, Ronke Adekoluejo, Marton Csokas, Alex Fitzalan


Rating: PG-13 (Thematic Content|Suggestive Material|Some Strong Language|Violence)
Run Time: 107min
Genres: Biography, History, Drama, Music

Distributor: Searchlight Pictures

Producers: Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Dianne McGunigle, Stefani Robinson


Rating contributor: ShariK.Green tmc
I'm the Sr. Film Writer and Community Manager for I write, direct and produce short films with my production company, Good Stew Productions. Though it's difficult to answer this question when asked, I'd say my favorite movie is “The Big Chill.” I enjoy photography, poetry, and hiking and I adore animals, especially elephants. I live in Arizona and feel it's an outstanding and inspirational place to live.

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