Author: Best Actor - Geoffrey Rush (1996)
The story of Australian pianist David Helfgott. He experiences a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized, but later returns to the concert hall.
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 ‘60s, 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. The DVD release presents the film in its widescreen format, and also includes a Q&A with director Hicks and Rush’s Golden Globes acceptance speech. —Tom Keogh