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The true story of a young teacher who fights against the board of education in her bid to teach underprivileged kids in a Harlem school the beauty of music through the violin. In her struggle she loses everything as the system comes down on her with all their might but her determination for the kids happiness helps her to battle back with wonderfully inspirational results. Written by
Many of the children featured in this film are actual students of Ms. Tvaraz and were actually with her during the events (including the Carnegie Hall Extravaganza) that led to the establishment of the Opus 118 East Harlem Violin Program that helped to support Roberta in the public school system. See more »
When Roberta speaks with Brian in her bedroom, she has curlers in her hair. In the next shot, they are gone. See more »
This film is based on the true story of Roberta Guaspari, a music teacher in New York. When the movie opens, she has recently moved herself and her two sons in with her mother, after her marriage fails. Roberta (Meryl Streep) takes her limited teaching experience and pitches a violin class to a skeptical principal (Angela Bassett). After proving how well she's taught her young sons the instrument, Roberta is given a chance. It is slow going at first, as Roberta has to deal with inattentive students, and disapproving parents and fellow teachers. One African-American parent snaps that her son has better things to do than learn "dead white men's music", even though her son lights up while he's taking his music lessons. The violin program grows so much in popularity that kids have to enter a lottery to get a chance to get into it. When the program is cut due to the insensitive school system, Roberta fights back. Film hits the message home that music education is important, but it keeps repeating it over and over. The audience got the point, already! Streep does portray a likeable underdog, though, and the love she has for the students is always apparent, even when she's snapping at them. The kids are adorable. Don't be fooled, however, by how the trailers build up Gloria Estefan's participation in the movie. She's okay, but her role is very small. Angela Bassett is effective, as usual.
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