Shine

  • Directors: Scott Hicks
  • Producers: Jane Scott
  • Writers: Jan Sardi, Scott Hicks
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor, Armin Mueller Stahl

Shine begins as we see an apparently lost man finding his way into a restaurant. The man has some sort of mental disability and we find out his name is David Helfgott, played by Geoffrey Rush. The movie then cuts back to his childhood, where the viewer sees David perform in a music competition. Helfgott’s father, Peter (played by Armin Mueller-Stahl) watches as David loses the competition. David’s father seems to be a cruel and harsh man.

The movie then shows David as a teenager (played by Noah Taylor). David wins the state musical championship and is invited to study in America but is forbidden by his father to leave. 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 David leaves and as a consequence his father disowns him.

In London, David enters a Concerto competition choosing to play Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto. As David practices, he increasingly becomes manic in his behaviour. During one of David’s performance he suffers a mental breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where he receives electric shock therapy.

After David’s initial institutionalization he tries to return home, but his father still rejects him. David is admitted again to a mental institution where he spends a considerable amount of time. Eventually we see David as an adult taken home by one of the workers at the mental institution. This worker remembers him from before he suffered his breakdown. The worker recognizes that David needs more care than they can offer and David finds himself in a hostel, wandering the streets. At this point we enter where the movie began.

At the restaurant they are astounded by his ability to play the piano and one of the owners befriends David and looks after him. In return David plays at the restaurant. It’s through the owner that David is introduced to Gillian (played by Lynn Redgrave). David and Gillian fall in love and marry. Through Gillian’s help David readies himself for a comeback concert at which he is given a standing ovation.

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