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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
Emily Watson actually learned to play the cello as a child so was a natural for the part of Jacqueline du Pré. She practiced so long and so intensively for the film that she would frequently make her fingers bleed. 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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Entertaining and moving story of two real-life sisters.
It is a pleasure to see a film that has believable characters and an engrossing story which both entertains and enlightens. "Hilary and Jackie" tells the story of two sisters, Hilary and Jacqueline Du Pre, from their early years as devoted sisters and fledgling musicians, through their divergent life choices as professional soloist and housewife.
Jacqueline's career as cellist takes off just as Hilary decides to marry and raise a family on a rural farm. The music is integral to the development of the story. Director, Anand Tucker, uses it to comment on the action, much as the piano performances were used in "Shine". The digital stereo sound highlights the richness of the music combined with emotionally gripping sound effects.
Emily Watson shines as Jacqueline in a varied and multi-faceted performance that may well earn her another Academy Award nomination. As the quieter more sensible Hilary, Rachel Griffiths is also effective in a less showy but subtle portrayal.
The key dramatic sequence comes at the film's center where Jacqueline leaves her husband, pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim, to stay with Hilary and her family. The surprising favor and request she asks of her sister will not be revealed here. Suffice it to say, this is not a film for children.
The powerful final scenes will remain long in memory. The fine music should encourage those not familiar with the careers of Du Pre and Barenboim to sample their recordings. Put this fine film on your must-see list.
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