The true story of pianist David Helfgott. In Australia in the 1950s, child prodigy David (an Oscar-winning Geoffrey Rush) is pushed hard by his father, Peter, and catches the attention of music tutor Ben Rosen, who teaches David for free. Ben encourages David to learn Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto, but Peter forbids it, thinking that the piece is too complex. When David departs for a scholarship at London's Royal College of Music, Peter severs all ties with his son. As the young musician comes to perform the concerto he collapses, suffering a nervous breakdown.
This tearjerker by Australian filmmaker Scott Hicks is a surprising story about real-life classical pianist David Helfgott, an Australian who rose to international prominence at a very young age in the 1950s and 1960s, and suffered a psychological collapse after enduring years of abuse from his father (Armin Mueller-Stahl). Hicks has three very fine actors portraying Helfgott at different stages of his life, including the adorably wry and goofy Noah Taylor (Flirting
), who takes up the character's teen years, and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush, giving a great performance playing the musician as a schizophrenic adult. Despite the Helfgotts' compromised psychological health, Shine
is hardly a depressing experience. If anything, the story is really about how long one person's life can take to make glorious sense of itself. Sir John Gielgud, in golden form, plays Helfgott's teacher. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com