It earned Oscar nods, yet this cinematic look at a genius--that of English cellist Jacqueline du Pré, who enraptured audiences with her bold, emblazoned and wholly unconventional playing style, and who died at age 42--was criticised for its "lapses" in truth by people who purportedly knew du Pré. Some of the controversy revolved around the other main character in Anand Tucker's gorgeous, involving movie--du Pré's sister, Hilary, whose book,A Genius in the Family
(cowritten with brother Piers), dished some dirt on Jackie's sleeping with Hilary's husband. But don't let that deter you from this ebullient movie experience. Hilary and Jackie
is a bisected story (each sister's tale is told in the same amount of screen time) teeming with heartfelt drama that belies the cheap shots it received from its detractors. It's stirring, reckless, loving, involving, and rife with unconventional passion; passion for music, life, art, and the delicate relationship between these two synchronous, extraordinary sisters as played by brilliant actors Emily Watson and Rachel Griffiths (both of whom earned Oscar nods). Though Watson got the juicy, showy role as Jackie, it's Griffiths who provides the heart, soul, and spine of the film. And director Tucker has that gift of being able to explain through the visual medium what is happening inside of his character's heads. He's helped by a fine screenplay by Frank Boyce Cottrell. No matter what the truth of Hilary and Jackie might really be, this is an exceptional, rare film that is defined and graced by fine acting and writing. --Paula Nechak
The true story of the life of cellist Jacqueline du Pré (Emily Watson), focusing upon her turbulent relationship with her family. Sister Hilary (Rachel Griffiths) exhibits almost as much musical talent as a child, but decides to eschew fame for a more conventional life, marrying conductor Kiffer Kinzi (David Morrissey). Jackie, meanwhile, quickly rises through the ranks on the international concert circuit and becomes engaged to renowned pianist Daniel Barenboim (James Frain). However, at the pinnacle of Jackie's success, tragedy strikes - her fingers begin to numb, her ability to play diminishes, and her mental state becomes ever more precarious.