SHINE (1996)

A review
By Shlomoh Sherman

This is truly an amazing movie. It is the true story of David Helfgott, an Australian concert pianist. David was a musical genius since childhood and his over-bearing, one might say, abusive father, Peter, drove him literally insane. The film shows Peter, a totalitarian authority figure, imposing a prison like lifestyle on the young David so that the boy has no real freedom of choice in anything. The father claims he is treating his son harshly as a display of love, and continually tells David that his own father treated him far worse. David is supposed to be gratefull that Peter's treatment of him is "mild" in comparison.

When David is offered a scholarship and an opportunity to go to America to study music, his father orders him to reject the offer. David, showing a degree of autonomy for the first time in his life, refuses to obey his father, and goes off to America. Thereupon Peter ceases all communication with David, cutting him out of his life completely. David's career spirals upward to success. Suddenly, on day, as an adult, David suffers a mental breakdown while performing, and is thereafter mentally handicapped for the rest of his life, exhibiting bizzare behavior and unable to focus. Along the way David makes a series of friends who attempt to help him live his daily life. But it is the an astrologer Gillian, the woman who later becomes his wife, who has the most calming and serene affect on David, and although David never fully recovers from his madness, Gillian is there to care for him and to calm him when he becomes both manic and depressed.

I strongly recommend that you see this fine. moving film, and I also recommend that you bring plenty of tissues.

The film has a wonderful cast, including Geoffrey Rush as David Helfgott, Lynn Redgrave as Gillian Helfgott, and Armin Mueller-Stahl as Peter Helfgott.

The film is directed by Scott Hicks, and produced by Jane Scott. Screenplay is by Jan Sardi.

Director: Scott Hicks
Writers: Jan Sardi (screenplay), Scott Hicks (story)
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Justin Braine, John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave
Genres: Biography - Drama - Music - Romance
Running time is 105 minutes.
Rated PG-13 for nudity/sensuality and intense thematic elements
Country: Australia
Language: English - Yiddish
Release Date: November 20, 1996 (USA)
Also Known As: Claroscuro
Filming Locations: Adelaide Botanic Gardens & Park, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Company Credits:
Production Co: Australian Film Finance Corporation (AFFC), Film Victoria, South Australian Feature Film Company

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