Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Australia, 1996. Australian Film Finance Corporation, Film Victoria, The South Australian Film Corporation. Story by Scott Hicks, Screenplay by Cinematography by Produced by Jane Scott. Music by David Hirschfelder. Production Design by Vicki Niehus. Costume Design by Louise Wakefield. Film Editing by Pip Karmel.
Exciting film biography of concert pianist David Helfgott, who suffered under enormous personal pressures (mostly from an overbearing father) and had a complete nervous breakdown while still a young, burgeoning artist. Played by three extremely gifted actors, the film is probably at its most interesting during the section where Noah Taylor plays the adolescent Helfgott, being pushed around by a very frightening Armin Mueller-Stahl as the insecure patriarch who wants his son to make up for everything he missed out on in life but doesn’t want him to have too much. Geoffrey Rush made an international mark for himself as the adult Helfgott, a babbling brook of incessant rambling who managed to find his way back from insanity and see a better adulthood through the love of a good woman (Lynn Redgrave) and recommitting himself to his work. Newcomer Scott Hicks has done a beautiful job directing, and Geoffrey Simpson’s photography is colourful and bright. Very touching, and extremely enjoyable, this one also features a beautiful selection of both original and adapted classical music (most especially Rachmaninoff, whose most difficult concerto is a centrepiece of the plot in this film).
Academy Award: Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush)
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actor (Armin Mueller-Stahl); Best Director (Scott Hicks); Best Original Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Original Score-Drama
Golden Globe Award: Best Actor-Drama (Geoffrey Rush)
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Director (Scott Hicks); Best Screenplay; Best Original Score
Screen Actors Guild Award: Best Actor (Geoffrey Rush)
Nominations: Outstanding Ensemble Cast; Best Supporting Actor (Noah Taylor)
Toronto International Film Festival: 1996