Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
Director: Scott Hicks
Writer: Jan Sardi
Director of Photography: Geoffrey Simpson
Editor: Pip Karmel
Music: David Hirschfelder
Production Designer: Vicki Niehus
Producer: Jane Scott
Fine Line; PG-13; 105 minutes
Release: 11/96
Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Noah Taylor, Alex Rafalowicz, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Lynn Redgrave, John Gielgud and Googie Withers

Archive Photos

Few things are as tragic as a parent destroying a child's life by living vicariously through his or her offspring. The child almost never rebounds, forever carrying the parent's baggage. Australian piano virtuoso David Helfgott did make a comeback, though it took him nearly 30 years to do so. As a child, David (Rafalowicz) was a prodigy, and his overbearing father (Mueller-Stahl) was proud and adoring as long as David succeeded. When adolescent David (Taylor) begins to show independence by accepting a scholarship abroad, his father spins into a mad fury. David makes the break and breaks down after conquering the unconquerable “Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3,” landing in an institution. He meets a woman (Redgrave) who helps him recover from his trauma. An elegant study of a dysfunctional parent-child relationship and its devastating effects.

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