Shine (film)

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Shine is a 1996 Australian film based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions. It stars Geoffrey Rush, Lynn Redgrave, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Noah Taylor, John Gielgud, Googie Withers, Justin Braine, Sonia Todd, Nicholas Bell, Chris Haywood and Alex Rafalowicz. The screenplay was written by Jan Sardi, and Scott Hicks directed the film. The degree to which the film's plot reflects the true story of Helfgott's life is disputed (see below). The film made its US premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Geoffrey Rush was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1996 for his performance in the lead role.

Contents

Plot

As the film opens, a man (Geoffrey Rush) wanders through a heavy rainstorm finding his way into a restaurant. The restaurant's owner tries to determine if he needs help. Despite his manic mode of speech being difficult to understand, she learns that his name is David Helfgott and that he is staying at a local hotel. She returns him to the hotel and despite his attempts to engage her with his musical knowledge and ownership of various musical scores, she leaves.

In a flashback to David's childhood, he is competing in a local music competition. Helfgott has been taught to play by his father, Peter (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl), a man obsessed with winning who has no tolerance for failure or disobedience. David is noticed by Mr. Rosen, a local pianist who, after an initial conflict with Peter, takes over David's musical instruction.

As a teenager, David (played by Noah Taylor) wins the state musical championship and is invited to study in America. Although plans are made to raise money to send David and his family is initially supportive, Peter eventually forbids David to leave, thinking this will destroy the family. Crushed, David continues to study and befriends local novelist and co-founder of the Communist Party of Australia, Katharine Susannah Prichard (Googie Withers). David's talent grows until he is offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, England. David's father again forbids him to go but with the encouragement of Katharine, David leaves and is disowned by his father.

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