(out of 5)
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).
Story by Scott Hicks, Screenplay by
Produced by Jane Scott
Music by David Hirschfelder
Production Design by Vicki Niehus
Costume Design by Louise Wakefield
Film Editing by Pip Karmel