The lives of extraordinary yet severely tested geniuses are fascinating in and of themselves, but director Scott Hicks managed to lift this tale of an unnaturally talented pianist to another level. Based on a true story with an almost fatalistic dimension, the film’s message is further underscored by its unforgettable performances, in particular, by Geoffrey Rush and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

Australia 1996
  • Czech
105 min.

Can one create sublime music without mental anguish? Audiences will recall the exceptionally intense dramatic tale of the concert pianist David Helfgott mainly thanks to the expressive but at its core restrained performance given by Geoffrey Rush, who played the main protagonist as a grown man, long after he became a famous pianist under the tutelage of his strict father (Armin Mueller-Stahl). A straightforward story about the line between genius and madness, the influences of one’s upbringing on mental health, and the notion that behind despotic behavior there may lie a pitifully fragile soul, Shine departed from typical Australian cinema in its turn from social realism towards compelling, unapologetic melodrama.

Read more
Director: Scott Hicks
Based on: Scott Hicks
Screenplay: Jan Sardi
Cinematography: Geoffrey Simpson
Music: David Hirschfelder
Editing: Pip Karmel
Production Design: Vicki Niehus
Producer: Jane Scott
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Sonia Todd, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Noah Taylor, Googie Withers