British sisters Hilary du Pré and Jacqueline du Pré are both talented musicians, Hilary a flautist, Jackie a cellist. With regard to their musical prowess, they have always had a friendly competitive nature with each other, fueled in large part by the want of their pianist mother, Iris, for them to achieve musical greatness. But underlying this friendliness is a deep desire to be truly better than the other. Despite or perhaps in part because of her flamboyant performance style, the younger Jackie emerges from the shadows of older Hilary's more triumphant childhood successes to become the renowned musician in the family. Although both continue with their music and both end up marrying (Hilary to Kiffer Finzi, and Jackie to pianist Daniel Barenboim), Hilary focuses on her home life, whereas Jackie focuses on her career. A seemingly odd request by Jackie to Hilary is later understood, but Hilary's agreement to that request demonstrates the true nature of their loving but unusual ... Written by
The film has never been released in France to avoid any litigation from the real life Daniel Barenboim. See more »
We see Catalan cello master Pau Casals after a concert in Madrid in the early-1960s. But Pau Casals swore never to return to Spain from exile because Franco was still in power after the coup d'état and 1939's Spanish Civil War. Franco died in 1975, two years after Casals' own death in exile. See more »
If you think being an ordinary person is any easier than being an extraordinary one, you're wrong.
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Jacqueline du Pre is remembered as the beautiful, genius cellist who tragically died of multiple sclerosis at a young age. But this film, though a biopic, avoids the easy conventions of the tear-jerker. Instead, it portrays a talented but capricious young woman who found her rise to fame as difficult to handle, in some ways, as her subsequent decline. Three things lift it out of the ordinary: fine acting from the entire cast; a concerted attempt, in the construction of both plot and soundtrack, to genuinely convey the importance of music in her life; and an intelligent screenplay that uses the viewpoint of her sister Hilary, along with that of Jackie herself, to show her behaviour in two different lights. The veracity of the events has been disputed; but this is a complex, and ultimately moving, film.
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