Shine

A whacked-out, all-true, audience-pleasing hybrid of ROCKY and RAIN MAN, this expressionistic biopic follows the tribulations of real-life Australian piano virtuoso David Helfgott and manages to make outrageous material seem timid, familiar and cliched. Child prodigy Helfgott starts out an obsessed youth and becomes a ranting, deranged adult, his degeneration...read more

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A whacked-out, all-true, audience-pleasing hybrid of ROCKY and RAIN MAN, this expressionistic biopic follows the tribulations of real-life Australian piano virtuoso David Helfgott and manages to make outrageous material seem timid, familiar and cliched. Child

prodigy Helfgott starts out an obsessed youth and becomes a ranting, deranged adult, his degeneration abetted by his authoritarian father (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a Holocaust survivor who condemns his son to exile when the boy wants to go off to college. But director Scott Hicks expends too much

effort trying to make Helfgott's tortured mental situation cute and joyous -- a dubious proposition that conforms to the worst cliches about wacky artists. True or not, SHINE alternates between weary cliche -- the artist bloodying his head against the wall of society, the hammy piano teacher (John

Gielgud), the triumphant ending -- and genuinely strange circumstance. How is it that this infantile, jabbering, institutionalized, chain-smoking basket case (played entirely convincingly by Geoffrey Rush) so charms everyone he meets and eventually gets a wealthy woman to marry him? Feel-good tone

notwithstanding (and creepy to boot), there are nagging riddles about the Helfgott story that the film has neither the nerve nor the sense to tackle.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: A whacked-out, all-true, audience-pleasing hybrid of ROCKY and RAIN MAN, this expressionistic biopic follows the tribulations of real-life Australian piano virtuoso David Helfgott and manages to make outrageous material seem timid, familiar and cliched. C… (more)

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