As a child piano prodigy, David Helfgott's musical ambitions generate friction with his overbearing father, Peter. When Helfgott travels to London on a musical scholarship, his career as a pianist blossoms. However, the pressures of his newfound fame, coupled with the echoes of his tumultuous childhood, conspire to bring Helfgott's latent schizophrenia boiling to the surface, and he spends years in and out of various mental institutions.Written by
Australian actor Noah Taylor, best known at the time for his work in 'Flirting' (1991) and 'The Year My Voice Broke', (1987), was the first person the filmmakers saw for the adolescent David Helfgott. Director Scorr Hicks commented: "I knew that Noah was an actor who works very differently from most, but who has tremendous instincts. He gave a brilliant audition and I knew I wouldn't have to see anyone else." Taylor said: "David Helfgott is an incredible man, he really is a very interesting and inspiring character, which was one of the reasons why I was so attracted to the project." About the David Helfgott character whom he shared with Taylor, actor Geoffrey Rush said: "Noah and I had worked together in [Dad and Dave:] 'On Our Selection' (1995) as brothers and then here we were as the same person!. We looked at tiny behavioral details that we thought would be useful echoes from one to the other, how David holds a cigarette, how he adjusts his glasses. By the time we see the adult David, he's spent more than a decade in psychiatric institutions, and has changed quite considerably, which is a valid justification to have two actors play the one character. See more »
Aluminium roller shutters on the Helfgott family home. See more »
America. You know, land of the free, home of the brave. You know, Mickey Mouse.
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A little slight on the writing, but the acting and presentation is brilliant
When I originally saw this film in the mid-90's, I was absolutely devastated throughout the first forty-five minutes. So much so, I was pretty much uncontrollably weeping, much to the chagrin of the friend I went with. Time has softened the film a lot for me, but it still remains a powerful, tender and somewhat inspirational film about a piano prodigy who has led a pretty tragic life. Geoffrey Rush is unbelievable as the piano prodigy David Helfgott, and although the film is kind of sewn up a little quickly with the Vanessa Redgrave subplot (what about Helfgott made her so in love with him in a short period of time as to want to marry him?) it is a very well done film that I highly recommend to just about anyone, but especially musicians and music lovers.
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