Geoffrey Rush is dazzling as real-life Australian piano prodigy David Helfgott. We first see him in a restaurant playing the instrument brilliantly, but clearly mentally unstable.
How he arrives at that point in his life and what it has to do with being pushed to ever greater heights by his demanding father (Armin Mueller-Stahl) is the heart of this compelling biopic that is by turns intense, uplifting, heartbreaking and hilarious.
Rush deservedly won an Oscar, but Noah Taylor, portraying Helfgott as a troubled teenager, is equally impressive. Lynn Redgrave relishes her role as the caring woman who gives Helfgott unexpected hope, while John Gielgud makes the most of a nice little role as his teacher.