Shine (1996)

Another overrated underachiever from last year, SHINE is the true 
story of David Helfgott, a classical pianist from Australia who 
spent a double decade in a mental institution before returning to 
the ivory fold.  Three actors play the prodigy, with Geoffrey 
Rush's adult arguably the most memorable of the lot.  (He doesn't 
even use a hand double!)  His stammering, seen-RAIN-MAN-one-too-
many-times shtick, however, is far less affecting than it should 
be.  Blame better movies like MY LEFT FOOT, whose tortured heroes 
were a world more-accessible than this one.  (Helfgott's story is 
incomplete and, at times, incomprehensible.  More than once I 
wondered if I was watching a dream sequence.)  Of the other actors, 
Armin Mueller-Stahl displays subtle sadism as Helfgott's demanding, 
narcissistic father.  Even better is John Gielgud's London mentor, 
the one character who comes the closest to showing us the soul of a 
performing musician.  (Rated "PG-13"/105 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1997 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: January 19, 1997

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