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
I've read the 54 reviews here, and agree with most, both positive and negative, but I have a different perspective. Of all instruments, cello speaks to me most deeply. I do not play, I sing (deep bass, centered below the bottom of the bass staff, presently studying music in college after retirement), but still the cello resonates within my soul. I grieve that I never got the chance to see Jacqueline in her prime. But more so, that MS brought her down and killed her.
My wife has MS, is about 2/3 the way through the course of the disease. Its pace for her is much slower than the 20 years it took to kill Jackie. Slower, but just as bitterly relentless. The devastation of the disease is portrayed effectively in the film even though it is compressed in the telling. Some critics challenged the portrayal of incontinence, of tremors, of puzzling mental behavior. Those portrayals were quite accurate and the challenges unwarranted.
The one portrayal I would challenge is the final scene of Jackie being fed reclining. As I understand it, at least from current writings on the subject, the manner in which that was done would guarantee (aspiration) pneumonia and death because of the damage MS does to the swallowing reflex which uses the vocal cords to keep contaminants out of the lungs. I hope that portrayal was inaccurate. Other than this one glitch, I've found the movie haunting, invading my thoughts at quiet times and while drifting in and out of sleep. Sorry critics, I give it a 10, for the ballet of bond and competition between the sisters, for the portrayal of the musical genius of both of them, for the tragedy wrought by MS, for the powerful telling of the tale.....
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