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It’s little wonder that the movie is called “Shine.” Australian pianist David Helfgott’s life may have been difficult, but it never tarnished him. His spirit always shined and the movie effectively captures that fact.
David (Geoffrey Rush) has a natural talent. He is a genius at the piano. But with his genius comes a handicap. David is under of the yoke of his father’s controlling love.
David does find the strength to escape from his father’s clutches, to a music college in London. However, after mastering one of the most difficult piano pieces ever composed, Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concert No. 3,” he suffers a nervous break- down, which lands him in an institution and bars him from his love of the piano.
Aside from David’s musical gift, his other blessing is his optimism. He favors no ill will toward anyone or any predicament he may have faced, which makes David truly shine.
One of my favorite parts in the movie is when David stumbles into a piano bar and everyone giggles at him as he rambles his way over to the piano. The snickers quickly stop once his fingers touch the keys. Suddenly, David has won over everyone’s hearts with his optimism and talent.
Rush’s portrayal of David Helfgott is incredible. He shows off the pianist’s sunny side but also his sadness as he sits in his room, looking at mementos from his past and remembering all that he has been through.
Rush does such great justice to David that it doesn’t seem surprising that he won an Oscar for his performance.
Another great performance was Lynn Redgrave who plays Gillian, David’s wife. She does not portray a cheesy, Hallmark card sentiment toward David, but rather a true love. From the first time, she sees him jumping on a trampoline wearing nothing but an overcoat, Redgrave shows a love that is pure and not based on sympathy or charity.
“Shine” really is a must-see movie, so it is good fortune that the Mesa Public Library Free Film Series is screening the movie at 7 p.m. Thursday at the library.