Shine

Bittersweet biography dealing with Australian concert pianist David Helfgott who suffered from mental illness.  Most of the film concerns his formative years as a musical prodigy.  He escapes the tyrannical rule of his father who disowns him after he departs for London upon being offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music.  Armin Mueller-Stahl makes an indelible impression as his domineering father in a truly unsympathetic portrayal.  Helfgott’s ongoing obsession with executing Rachmaninoff’s technically demanding Piano Concerto No. 3 ultimately reaches an exhilarating manic apex.  The narrative is a bit murky when it comes to Helfgott’s subsequent psychological breakdown. Are his  problems caused by the virtually unplayable composition or the result of physical and mental abuse by his father?  It’s never quite clear, but regardless, the scene that highlights the performance of this piece is a beautifully edited sequence of talent and dementia.  Geoffrey Rush won the Best Actor Oscar for his work in the role of the virtuoso as an adult, but Noah Taylor actually registers much more screen time with his sensitive depiction as the adolescent David.

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One Response to “Shine”

  1. Wish I would have seen this sooner. Such a great movie and history lesson. Acting was phenomenal.

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