6.8/10
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127 user 78 critic

Music of the Heart (1999)

Story of a schoolteacher's struggle to teach violin to inner-city Harlem kids.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Henry Dinhofer ...
Lexi at 5
...
Nick at 7
Robert Ari ...
Supervisor
...
Brian Turner
...
Taxi Driver
...
Principal Janet Williams
...
Dennis Rausch
Barbara Gonzalez ...
Janet's Secretary
...
DeSean at 11
Victoria Gómez ...
Lucy at 10 (as Victoria Gomez)
...
Bongo Kid
Justin 'DJ' Spaulding ...
Naeem Adisa at 9 (as Justin Spaulding)
Zoe Sternbach-Taubman ...
Guadalupe at 9
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Storyline

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 Kryp <capthowdee@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

She gave them a gift they could never imagine. They gave the system a fight it would never forget.

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

29 October 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

50 Violins  »

Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,653,281 (USA) (29 October 1999)

Gross:

$14,849,583 (USA) (14 January 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was originally entitled "50 Violins". See more »

Goofs

At the end of Roberta's first week of teaching, Brian visits her apartment to celebrate. When he enters the room, Roberta has just finished putting three large curlers in her hair on the left side. They disappear after the two of them kiss. See more »

Quotes

Roberta Guaspari: [after finding out her violin program has just been cut] There's got to be some way we can fight this!
Janet Williams: Fight it for what? I don't have any extra programs I can give them instead.
Roberta Guaspari: Ohhh, I see! After 10 years, after 1400 kids have learned the violin, "this is just an extra program!"
Janet Williams: You know I don't feel that way! And you know *damn* well I've been standing by you all these years! You think I haven't noticed what you've done for these kids?
Roberta Guaspari: Well, then *do* something!
Janet Williams: I have been on that phone for ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Please support arts and music education. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 72nd Annual Academy Awards (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Haydn Trio
Performed by Young Musicians Foundation
Written by Joseph Haydn
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User Reviews

 
A truly amazing movie that is actually Wes Craven's best film.
24 October 2000 | by (Sauk City, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

Can you picture this odd couple: Meryl Streep stars in a Wes Craven movie? Seems like a joke at first, but it really isn't. "Music of the Heart" is the second film that horror director Wes Craven has made and surpasses his first non-horror film, "Vampire in Brooklyn".

It based on the life of Roberta Guaspari (Streep), a violin teacher who moves to East Harlem with her two sons after her husband left her for another woman. Roberta starts a program of her own, teaching young kids how to play the violin. One mother of one of her students describes it as "dead white man music", but Roberta uses the late Arthur Ashe, who was black and a great tennis player as a great example. In another scene, the mother tells Roberta that she was right.

Ten years later, Roberta has taught over a thousand children how to play the violin and some of her former students have either gone onto college or become violinists. A problem surfaces, the superintendent and board of education have made budget cuts. Roberta is told by Janet Williams (Angela Bassett), the princpal that the music program has been cut.

So Roberta vows to keep the program alive and gets the idea of having a benefit concert. She gets help from some of her friends and some parents to help promote the concert and the place where it'll be held. Bad news, the first place where the concert is going to be held in has a flood. The only other place that is mentioned is Carnegie Hall in Philadelphia.

The concert scene is one of the best scenes in the movie. Some of Roberta's first students come back to join some of current her pupils. Also, some of the best-known violinists in the world have come as well, Issac Stern, Mark O'Connor, Arnold Steinhardt, and Itzhak Perlman are among them. Watching O'Connor play was fun to see. I admit that is the concert is memorable and great to watch as the one put up in "The Blues Brothers".

The emotional energy in this film never lets down at one moment. Bassett, Quinn, and Jay O. Sanders are good in their supporting roles. The movie is great and it stays with the story. Wes Craven deserved an Oscar nomination for Best Director and Streep is great.


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