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Film: Shine

Shine is a 1996 Australian film based on the life of classical pianist David Helfgott, directed by Scott Hicks. Based somewhat on Helfgott's real life, it follows him through his formative years as he rehearses the piano and gets accepted to the Royal College of Music in London and his subsequent mental breakdown and years in institutions. It stars Geoffrey Rush (as Helfgott), Lynn Redgrave (as eventual wife Gillian), Armin Mueller-Stahl (as his father, Peter Helfgott) and Noah Taylor (as the teenage David).

It grossed over $35 million and won Rush his first Oscar for Best Actor in 1997. One noted critic of the movie was Margaret Helfgott, David's sister, who said that she felt that "an evil had been done"; the film portrayed their father Peter as a strict disciplinarian and controlling bully and Margaret maintains he was almost the opposite in real life.

Tropes present:

  • Abusive Parents: His father Peter is obsessed with winning who has no tolerance for failure or disobedience.
  • Child Prodigy / Teen Genius: David is such a good pianist as a child and teen that he gets offers from virtuoso violinist Isaac Stern to come and study in America.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: David (it's implied) sleeps with one while he is studying in the Royal College of Music.
  • Motor Mouth / The Unintelligible: David, from his teenage years but worse after he suffers his mental breakdown — not exactly unintelligible but does speak very fast and disjointly.
  • No Social Skills: David, after his breakdown — one notable example being that he thinks nothing of groping the breasts of the elderly lady who is looking after him in church while she is playing the organ (getting understandable stares from those present).
  • Sergei Rachmaninoff: The piece that causes David to go mad is the monumentally difficult Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30.
  • Overcrank: The film slows down as David is finishing up the concerto, and the keys go silent.
  • Sanity Slippage: David starts off reasonably normal but as time goes on becomes increasingly manic and starts being less intelligible, peaking when he plays Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto and in the aftermath.
  • Talkative Loon: David, to an extreme extent. As an adult, he is constantly rambling on about random things.
  • Technical Virgin: Probably David, since we are shown a scene of him and new wife Gillian in bed together.

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