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Shine More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Author: Jonas Sörensen (jonas.sorensen@mailcity.com) from Malmö, Sweden
9 August 1999

David, a young Australian boy, discovers he's got a gift - he can play a piano like a master. When he gets an offer from a music school in London his father gets furious and says he will split the family if he leaves. But the boy leaves and his father is devastated.

Shine isn't a typical "Hollywood" movie about a boy where everything is bittersweet and everyone smiles and says happy things. No, this is a movie about true life and the tough way in growing up and become an adult. It's a story about a boy trying to be accepted in the world.

The movie is based on a true story. I don't really know what the plot wants to say, but I have some ideas:

1. The family itself is important, therefore you shouldn't move away to another country or so. 2. Not everyone can be famous. 3. Maybe as David's father says in the film: "Life is a struggle you have to fight".

This is a movie filled with sorrow, happiness and some really good performances, among them Geoffrey Rush as David when he's an adult. The performance also gave him a well deserved Academy Award.

Shine is one of those movies that you can watch again, trying to understand it even more.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Title Says It All

7/10
Author: great_sphinx_42 from The Poppy Field, OZ 69666
10 June 1999

DAMN, is Geoffrey Rush a great actor, or what? I saw "Les Miserables" on video and "Shakespeare in Love" in the theater shortly after seeing "Shine", and I didn't even realize it was the same guy. Very, VERY well deserved Oscar for him. The movie is very good, of course, with an interesting story about how genius is both a blessing and a curse-but it's Rush's show, and he uses every minute of it. And I do love Rachmaninov, so that's a bonus for me. Quietly spectacular.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Music is the universal language

7/10
Author: lib-4 from Florida
3 May 1999

I was so mesmerized by this movie I forgot to watch the Derby. All three actors who portrayed Helfgott were astounding. And when the Rachmaninoff piece played I couldn't take a breath til it was done-- the power of it washed over me. The whole film portrayed the power of talent over the deprivations of love. Rarely has a movie about music done such a good job of showing the magnitude of strength required to please the muse.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I'm only happy when it rains...

10/10
Author: Stefanowich from Kalmar, Sweden
5 October 1998

...or when I play the piano. This is one true masterpiece!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

World-class Australian film

Author: Enoch Law from Sydney, Australia
2 October 1998

While it was generally accepted that Australian films are usually quite good and have a great deal to offer, it was also a subconsciously conceded fact that, in terms of getting recognition from, say, Hollywood, it would be a step-by-step process. 'Shine', however, allows Australian cinema to jump a few steps and really get some world attention.

Sure, there have been raging arguments recently as to how close (or how totally far away, as the case may be) the plot is from David Helfgott's life, there can be no doubt that this film is exceptional stuff.

The fact that Geoffrey Rush won as Oscar for this film says it all. He really was the one playing the piano in the second half of the film (though Helfgott recorded the sound), so he deserves great credit for that. But that is not to take away from the splendid performance of Noah Taylor, who had as much screen time as Rush, and of Armin Mueller-Stahl and Sir John Gielgud. The cinematography is probably underrated, while most of the sets are fabulously appropriate. And the music undoubtedly appeals even to those who avidly avoid classical music.

In a year when 'Jerry Maguire' was the only really good major studio flick, and independent films like 'The English Patient' and 'Fargo' won much acclaim, how good it was to see Australian cinema grasp the opportunity with both hands, and come out with something to be so proud of. 8.5 out of 10.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fails to Shine!

4/10
Author: Python Hyena from Canada
30 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Shine (1996):Dir: Scott Hicks / Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl, John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave, Noah Taylor: Intriguing film about a life conquered by discouragement. The title hardly describes the gloom presented here. It regards a man with a broken soul whose only shred of light comes when he plays the piano. Geoffrey Rush plays him with spirit and anguish. His father survived the Holocaust and rejects his son's opportunity to take his music career to Europe. Predictable and depressing with little or no entertainment value. Directed with insight by Scott Hicks as the true story of David Helfgott and how he functions. Flawless performance by Rush whose music is his only light within the darkness of harsh discouragement. Armin Mueller-Stahl plays his father whose past dictates his interactions with his son. How this eventually plays out is not going to lift anyone's spirits. Supporting roles are somewhat straight forward including John Gielgud whose every scene seems to be to encourage Rush to follow his dreams. Lynn Redgrave looks uncomfortable as his wife who should know better than to get tangled up in this mess. While the message is strong, the delivery is less than inviting. Noah Taylor plays the Rush character in his teens. The result is an overrated and depressing character study that will fail to shine on anyone's day. Score: 4 / 10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

This film definitely made me cleverer!

10/10
Author: vintkd from Russia
2 June 2012

For a long time I had no opportunity to see this Australian film of different reasons but I have done it and I'm very happy because "Shine" is accurate the same as I its imagined. That's very inspiring drama with brilliant performances Geoffrey Rush, Armin Mueller-Stahl and remarkable Noah Taylor that liked me more of all and earned "Oscar" like and genius Geoffrey Rush, in my opinion. I disappointed that he didn't been even if nominated for his role. I'm musician and I have clearly understanding the sense of that movie. Music is the great energy that capable of to raise you and also break you and your life. And else that is film about human egoism that destructive for lives others and ourselves. This film definitely made me cleverer.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Shining Success

9/10
Author: James Hitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England
23 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Films about classical composers ("The Music Lovers", "Immortal Beloved") frequently portray them as tormented, unstable geniuses, and the cinema often takes a similar view of those who interpret their music, whether as musicians ("Hilary and Jackie") or as ballet dancers ("Black Swan"). Like "Hilary and Jackie", which came out two years later, "Shine" is based on the life of a real classical musician, the Australian pianist David Helfgott. The film tells the story of Helfgott's life, especially his relationship with his father Peter, his struggles against mental illness and his eventual recovery.

Peter is portrayed here by Armin Mueller-Stahl as a domineering tyrant who expects total obedience from his children and who is obsessed with winning and success at all costs. (To be fair I should point out that this portrait of Peter Helfgott has been challenged by some members of his family). Once David's musical talent is discovered, Peter becomes a hard taskmaster who takes over the boy's life, forcing him to practise day and night and to tackle the most technically complex and emotionally demanding pieces, notably Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto.

(It would appear that in the sixties the Rachmaninoff concertos were regarded as too daunting for students and only the most experienced pianists dared tackle them. Today, things appear to have changed. I recall that in the piano finals of a recent "Young Musician of the Year" contest in Britain five of six the finalists chose to play works by Rachmaninoff, with the sixth opting for Tchaikovsky; the commentators were left pondering why young pianists no longer want to play Mozart or Beethoven).

Peter's methods have some success, because David becomes a prodigy who wins the state musical championship and is invited to study in America. Peter, however, forbids his son to leave Australia; when David accepts a subsequent invitation to study at the Royal College of Music in London his father disowns him. David's success, however, has come at too high a price, because while in London the emotional strain proves too much for him, and he suffers a mental breakdown and is committed to an institution.

This was the film which first made a star of Geoffrey Rush, hitherto a little-known Australian actor. Indeed, it not only made him a star but also won him an Academy Award for Best Actor. Rush was not the first Australian actor to win the award- that was Peter Finch for "Network"- but he was the first to do so for a role in an Australian film. Rush was the fifth actor in nine years to win the award for playing a character suffering from either physical or mental disabilities; the others were Dustin Hoffman ("Rain Man"), Daniel-Day-Lewis ("My Left Foot"), Al Pacino ("Scent of a Woman") and Tom Hanks ("Forrest Gump"). (There were also a couple of "Best Actress" awards for similar roles around this time). This phenomenon was the subject at the time of some adverse comment to the effect that such awards were being given out on the basis of political correctness, but in fact a number of the performances in question were very fine ones, and Rush's is one of the best, up there with Hoffman's, Day-Lewis's and Marlee Matlin's in "Children of a Lesser God". Rush's verbal and physical mannerisms are highly suggestive of a man not completely in control mentally, yet this is a performance which goes beyond the purely physical. The David Helfgott who shines through beneath the surface peculiarities is a sensitive man, struggling against a mental burden too great for him to bear.

Of the supporting performances, those that stand out are from Noah Taylor as the teenage David, Lynn Redgrave as his wife Gillian, who played a major part in his recovery, and from Mueller-Stahl as Peter, a tyrant yet one with his own mental suffering to bear. (The Helfgott family were Polish Jews who arrived in Australia as refugees from Nazism, and it is clear that Peter's character has been scarred by his terrible experiences in Europe). There is also a good cameo from the 92-year-old Sir John Gielgud as David's teacher in England.

One criticism that has been made is that the film exaggerates Helfgott's status as a pianist. Although he eventually recovered from his mental illness and was able to start giving public recitals again, most musical experts do not regard him as being among the world's greatest talents. Yet such criticism strikes me as missing the point. The aim of the film is not to claim that Helfgott now ranks alongside the likes of Vladimir Ashkenazi or Yevgeny Kissin but to show how the love of his wife and his own willpower enabled him to overcome his mental illness and to play again for audiences. That, in my view, is an aim in which it brilliantly succeeds. 9/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Geoffrey Rush - An Acting Legend!

10/10
Author: nama chakravorty from India
26 May 2010

Geoffrey Rush's performance in the biopic 'Shine' is one of those Shining Cinematic moments that pack in happiness, un-seen talent and respect. Based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, who, suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions comes to life with Rush's most urgent performance to date.

'Shine' as a film, is a notch above the ordinary. Some biopics are fascinating, but 'Shine' is fascinating and memorable only because of Geoffery Rush! Nonetheless, it's a well-made film.

I don't have much left to write about the film, and if I start writing about Rush.. then this review might not even end. Rush's performance will go down as one of those rare performances, that would haunt actors and wanna-be actors for a long, long time! Those 10 stars for Geoffery Rush only!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Moving

10/10
Author: AKHIL AGGARWAL from United States
21 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It is one of my all time favorites. I like everything about this movie, the performances, the concept of music shown in there, the story... everything but the only thing I do not like is that it is a true story. The one who had gone through all this, I do not know what to say because the way that guy mumbles words from his past just shows how much he would have gone thru. For the whole movi this guy is shown to be suffering and in the last when he gets the fame he deserves, it just takes yor energy level skyhigh. You really feel good about it. Geoffrey has done one of the finest job I have ever seen on screen. The father-son relationship, his teenage, marriage with an old lady, they all look so much off the track, so different from a regular life. How can someone have all these in one life but it has happened but the shot where he wins some fame after a terrible life is DIVINE.

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