''Music of the Heart'' is a 1999 dramatic/{{biopic}} film, directed by Creator/WesCraven ([[GenreAdultery yes, you read correctly]], ''that'' Wes Craven) and starring Creator/MerylStreep. The film is based on the documentary ''Small Wonders'', which chronicled violinist and educator Roberta Guaspari (Streep) organizing a violin program conducted for inner-city kids in Harlem and eventually holding the "Fiddlefest" concerts to save her program. The film takes place over the course of ten years (1981-1991).

The film opens in 1981 with Roberta as a renowned music educator and performer who just recently divorced George Tzeveras. Needing a job to support herself and her two sons, she accepts a position as a violin teacher in East Harlem.

The film then follows her life as a teacher who has to go through different trials. She organizes a violin program for younger children as she feels any young child could learn to play the violin, and that it will be a good form of expression for the children who are growing up in a tough, tough neighborhood. She inspires troubled students to make something of themselves, change their lives for the better.

By 1991, Roberta has spent her last decade devoted to her students as well as her family. Her program for violinists is still ongoing. Then, her life turns for the worst. The New York City Board of Education decides to make necessary budget cuts. One of the first to go is the music program, leaving Roberta unemployed. In an effort to save her program, she helps her students and alumni, as well as their parents, organize the "Fiddlefest" concerts and invites well-known violinists to play with her. The concert is successful and her music program is saved.

The film earned Meryl Streep Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for her lead performance.

!!This film contains examples of:
* AbusiveParents: One of Roberta's best students [[spoiler: has to give up a shot at Julliard and move away]] because her father had been committing domestic abuse.
* AnAesop: Every character finishes the film having learnt valuable life lessons.
* AsHimself: All the famous violinists at the concert, including Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Arnold Steinhardt, Michael Tree, Joshua Bell, Sandra Park, and Mark O'Connor.
* AwardBaitSong: "Music of My Heart", performed by Music/GloriaEstefan and Music/{{NSYNC}}. Was actually nominated for an Oscar.
* BasedOnATrueStory: and not too loosely either.
* {{Biopic}}: This film chronicles the life of Roberta Guaspari from 1981 to 1991.
* TheCameo / RealPersonCameo: The above-mentioned famous violinists.
* CoolTeacher:
** Roberta shuffles back and forth from this. One moment she's harsh and unforgiving, the next she's gentle and encouraging.
** One boy in the first half of the film believes that Roberta is cool ''because'' [[GoodIsNotNice she is not as classically nice as some of his other teachers.]] Gradually, the students come to respect Roberta's toughness and find some of her outbursts funny.
* GangBangers: The audience glimpses gang activity in the harlem housing projects.
* InnerCitySchool: The setting for the whole film.
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: One of Roberta's first students, a little girl named Guadalupe who is shown wearing leg braces. Her entire purpose in the film is to show Roberta that quitting something just because it's hard is a cop-out. She's also there to showcase Roberta's gentler side.
* KidsAreCruel: As expected, many of the kids don't take well to learning the violin. "Violins are for sissies" is an often-used phrase. There's also a boy who makes his sister carry his violin case for him, as he is scared that his friends will make fun of him. Another boy knocks over his stand partner's music stand on purpose.
* TheMagicWasInsideYouAllAlong: What Roberta hopes the kids will learn as they pick up the instrument.
* AMotherToHerMen: Or rather, "A Mother to Her Students." She becomes a mother figure by helping out her students.
* PetTheDog: Roberta and her two sons take very good care of their pet dog, Allegra. Just when we think Roberta might've been too nasty to her class earlier in the day, she pets Allegra.
* PrivateTutor: [[Creator/MerylStreep Roberta Guaspari]] is tasked with a violin program conducted for [[SaveOurStudents inner-city kids in Harlem]].
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Roberta often gives verbal beatings to students who don't take their violin-playing seriously.
* SadistTeacher: Mr. Rausch.
* SaveOurStudents: Roberta, the kids and the teachers rally together to save the music program from getting its funds cut and being cancelled.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: One of Roberta's best students moves out of Harlem [[spoiler:owing to her father's domestic abuse]].
* SeriousBusiness: Being a violinist, Roberta considers playing it as a serious matter. At the start of the film, when she sees her movers accidentally drop some cases of violins, she's understandably frustrated.
* SheCleansUpNicely: All the inner-city kids are shown wearing very fancy clothes (including white stockings, hair accessories, branded shoes etc). However, it does look like they've cleaned up a whole lot from that when they are in their suits and dresses at Carnegie Hall.
* ShownTheirWork: The depiction of how children are taught to play the violin is very accurate, mostly because the film was made under the supervision of the real Roberta and other famed violinists. The tape markings on the fingerboard and bow, and all the terminology are generally spot-on.
* SurvivorGuilt: Ramon feels this after [[spoiler: Justin]] is killed in a drive-by shooting. He regrets telling him to [[spoiler: "drop dead"]] the day before.
* TimeSkip: The second half of the film takes place around ten years after the events of the first, and several of Roberta's students, now grown up and accomplished musicians, return to help her with the fund-raising concert. Allegra the dog has also grown up, but she's still pretty jumpy for a 10+ year-old dog.
* WhiteMansBurden: Several of the children and their mothers don't like that Roberta is trying to play messiah to the kids. It should be noted Roberta herself denies this, which [[spoiler: results in a change of heart for one skeptical parent.]] However, she does tend to cross into this category regardless.
* WretchedHive: Harlem is portrayed as this.