David Helfgott is a child prodigy. He plays the piano like no other child and as the years pass, his father keeps pushing him to reach his limits. You often see this kind of the abuse in young tennis players, and I guess that extends to any other type of competition. Pushed beyond its limits, David, immersed in piano playing is gradually starting to lose his mind. Later on, we find him totally disoriented and mentally disturbed, but still very lovable and always with good intentions and positive way of thinking.
Based on a true story Shine really delivers a compelling life story of David Helfgott, and an Oscar winning performance of Geoffrey Rush is just magnified that. One of those must see movies, although it is sad it still has a positive underlining and hope embedded in it. There are just so many motives in this movie that it’s amazing that Scott Hicks managed to bind them together into one coherent story. Holocaust, relationship between father and son, family, ambition and finally fucking pursuit of happiness are some of them. Our characters navigate through these murky and very violent waters, trying to survive, same as us. And this is the true treasure that Shine hides, it’s a story about us and it doesn’t matter that we are not piano prodigies or are having mental issues.
PS I’ve always wondered about this connection between mental difficulties, talent (usually in mathematics, chess or music), and movie success. With the exception of Cronenberg’s Spider, we rarely see movies going into deeper examination of the character who has just mental difficulties. Gen Pop likes everything neat and clean, so with great talent comes great illness to balance it out. Same with A Beautiful Mind and other movies regarding this subject.