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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

It was fabulous!

Author: Miolaran from United States
1 August 2005

I loved this movie.

One thing that I've found to be so interesting about this film is the very strong emotion that it frequently evokes in the audience. The first time I saw it (opening week in downtown Philadelphia), both my husband and I cried, and so did the friends that came with us, and judging by the sniffling going on around us, so did a number of others. The second time I saw it, I could only find a seat at the end of the back row in a neighborhood art-house theater. When the big Brahms finale came up, the entire back row burst out humming the tune with huge enthusiasm (and yes, you do know it, even if you didn't know it was Brahms). The third time I saw it, I came with my extended family, and we had to sit way down front. When the movie ended, the group of people sitting behind us stood up, leaned over and said with urgency, "Did you LOVE this movie?" They had that blissful look on their faces that said that they had seriously connected with the film and really wanted to feel that others shared that connection.

I think it's not surprising that people who go to see it expecting that it'll be "about" the Philly Orchestra, or that it will somehow reveal the inner mysteries of music, or that it will lay out the back story of professional musicians rehearsing and performing a whole piece, or that it will have a linear narrative structure of, say, a documentary about the Civil War, might feel a bit baffled or restless.

But I do think that the movie uses the music and the musicians' personal stories to illuminate corners of the human experience we all share--which is why so many different kinds of people find it so meaningful. If you listen to what people are talking about after seeing it, they're all responding to different, and elemental, things that music can dig up inside us. Some really respond to the connections that music can make between parent and child; some with the vignettes showing kids laughing like crazy with a violinist playing up the hammy side of a sprightly little bit of a tune; some are teenage boys who don't give a rip about classical music but who completely got the exchanges about teamwork vs. individual effort; and a lot of people just like the joy the musicians find in bluegrass, or salsa, or painting.

The point is not what the music, or the movie, is saying literally; it's what you are open to hearing with your heart. Go see this movie, and listen from the inside out. You'll hear it too.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

inspiring film about classical music

Author: YNOTswim from San Francisco
15 December 2005

What an excellent film! The filmmaker spent five years with musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra, and tells their stories off and on the stage. It begins the film by asking the question: "What's music?" Then it went on to explore the profound intimacy between these musicians and music.

I was deeply moved into tears by this film, which I would have never expected with a documentary about classical music! It's so heartwarming to listen to the musicians, especially the Concertmaster David Kim, sharing their passion and inspiration with the audience, with the most beautiful music playing by these musicians in the background. I was incredibly charmed when the film spent a lengthy shot to show a street artist in Köln playing Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with only a accordion! This movie shows how art and music can enrich our lives and the humanity when we open our heart to make the connection to music. It certainly makes me appreciate more about classical music and talent of those musicians.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Compliments to Daniel Anker

Author: bfitch4 from United States
5 February 2006

My friend and I left absolutely elated after having seen "Music From the Inside Out". In fact, we feel that this documentary should be required viewing, not only at all music schools the world over but for all students, ages 10 years old an up. Yes, some pieces in this documentary dragged a little, but on the whole it's one of the few movies I wouldn't hesitate to see twice. I'm sure I would enjoy it just as much the second time around as I did the first time. There is some criticism of the voice overs ... well, this documentary has a story to tell, so I'm just thankful that the background to this story was so uplifting and beautiful. When I came home, I immediately telephoned and e-mailed friends, telling them to run, not walk, to see "Music From the Inside Out". I can't believe that this wonderful offering will only be shown for one week at only one theater in the Washington, D.C. area! It should be spread to every movie theater with reduced prices, so as to make converts of the many who have never been exposed to this caliber of classical music. My admiration and congratulations go to Daniel Anker - bravo!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A moving film

Author: lavalady from United States
2 April 2006

I just got the chance to see this screened at the 2006 Wisconsin Film Festival, and I'm so glad I did. This was one of many documentaries I saw this weekend. It had the distinction of bringing me closest to it's subjects. The music is wonderful, and the film answered a question I've always had about Symphony musicians. Namely: what do they do when they are 'not working'? While I enjoy classical music, I am a casual consumer. I don't think unfamiliarity with classical music would make this inaccessible. On the contrary, it brings that music down from the heights and puts a very human face on it. Recommended to all music lovers.

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Lovely if not super-deep exploration of what it means to be part of an Orchesta

Author: runamokprods from US
3 January 2011

Enjoyable, sweet, sometimes moving documentary about the lives and approaches to music of various members of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra.

While a very good film, its not quite a great one, as it stays a little on the surface (it could actually use more running time).

Plus talking in literal terms about the feelings of playing music seems like it is sometimes simply hard to do. So some of the stated insights seem obvious. (e.g. one has to subsume one's ego when playing in an orchestra).

The sections where we see music itself being played(of a wide, appealing variety) played are well-photographed and absorbing.

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They really got it right.

Author: rogerandjudy from L.A.
10 March 2008

This is a remarkable, sometimes surprising film that captures a lot of usually indescribable elements of what making music means to and feels like to the musicians. It breaks down a lot of stereotypes about classical musicians and shows them as very human, multidimensional individuals who just happen to have this gift, passion, and occupation.

As a musician and teacher, I have continually searched for resources that can enlighten students and the public about what makes music work and why we do art of any kind. This is my new favorite, joining "Sunday In the Park with George."

If you are a musician, might like to become one, or are trying to understand the one you live with, this is a must see. This is a very entertaining, yet informative documentary with no Hollywood ending (see "Mr. Holland's Opus) to screw it up.


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Superb, unique music documentary!

Author: bjackson98226 from Washington state, USA
6 July 2007

As a music lover and a long time fan of the Philadelphia Orchestra, I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this outstanding film. Even the extra features on the DVD (usually a perfunctory bore) were well worth watching.

This film shows in fascinating detail just what makes an orchestra world class - the collection of individual musicians who are willing to invest their talent and skill in an amazing group.

I highly recommend it for audiences of all ages. It would be an ideal introduction to the life of a professional musician for a young person considering that career path.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I loved the film,

Author: Jerry Bank ( from Trenton, New Jersey
3 May 2006

I very much enjoyed this. There is little that I can add to what has been said. Saying that, I will try to add.

I am an amateur musician and have run chamber music workshops for many years. It was a joy to see the playing portions of of the Brahms Sextet and Schubert Quintet. These are possibly the best examples of chamber music that there are.

However, I was very disappointed in the fact that the musicians were identified only by first name. The only one that I knew was David Kim. After choosing to only use first names, there should have been at least a list of the participating players in the closing credits. That would have been much more interesting than seeing the names of the various technical people.

I would have hoped that IMDb would have more information, but it doesn't. I would have liked to know where the chamber music session was filmed. It seemed like a beautiful place.

I went to the PBS site hoping for more information. Nothing there,and the link to the film's own web site produced a ridiculous Flash presentation almost devoid of content.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Nicely done technically, but a one-sided presentation (for a specific reason)

Author: dmcheng from Washington, DC
5 February 2006

I was lucky enough to hear director/producer Daniel Anker speak at my screening in Washington, DC. He said that the genesis of the film was from the Orchestra musicians themselves. After their "bitter" 1997 strike, they were brainstorming ideas on how to restore some of the luster to the orchestra's reputation, and they approached Anker about making a film. The film is subtitled "A collaboration with the musicians of the Phil. Orch."

To me, that explained why the film didn't touch on some hard realities of the struggle for mainstream interest, questions about relevance, old music vs. new music, the huge difficulties of making a living if you're not in a big orchestra, etc. Instead, it seemed on the edge of being a vanity project.

As a classical music lover, it's hard to rate this film. I echo the comments and reasonings of others who found it uninteresting. On the other hand, it may be fascinating to those who don't know much about the classical music world. Really hard to say. I did like the way the performances were shot.

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Performances save the film

Author: memfree
20 April 2005

If you enjoy hearing a full orchestra perform classical music, this is the film for you. The film will probably lag for most other people.

This documentary is structured into three parts. The viewer is introduced to several members of the Philadelphia Orchestra and lets them talk about how they define music, and what they love about it. Many of their stories are engaging and interesting. Seeing their passion for both classical and other genres can hold one's attention for at least half the film (but mentioning any of the neat tidbits would spoil it for those who haven't yet seen it).

The real highlights are all musical. There is no 'soundtrack' except performances recorded with the filming. The director wisely allows those pieces to continue as the visuals cut to interviews and such, but there is zero use of prerecorded music. Additionally, the camera work favors the musicians fingers over their faces when they play, allowing other musicians to better appreciate their technique.

Sadly, this viewer found that -- though the first half was very interesting -- by about halfway through the film none of the dialog was memorable. Perhaps if the beginning wasn't as strong, the ending interviews wouldn't seem to peter out. Still, the music was solid through and through.

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