Scott Hicks’ Shine is a brilliant film about the damage that can be done by a traumatic experience during childhood – whether a single devastating event or a prolonged poisonous relationship. The film tells the true story of David Helfgott and his struggle to celebrate his love of music despite the stifling instruction of his father Peter Helfgott, a Holocaust survivor intent on preserving the integrity of his family by all means possible. And as the desires of father and son square off, the result alternates between tragic and overwhelmingly uplifting.
I have been excited to see Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse documentary since I first heard Alicia Malone’s description of it at the Cannes film festival (here). I finally got to see it last week, and I left the theater with a profound feeling of disgust . . . at myself and my culture.
A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics – A Beautiful Mind
There is a moment late in the second act of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy where everyone is celebrating the success of the Good Vibrations single and lyricist Van Dyke Parks is tasked with describing the next project, which Brian wants to call SMiLE. Parks describes it as a mixture of various artists ranging from Phil Spektor to Beethoven (I have no chance of re-producing the exact sequence here, and can’t find it online, but it is a cool little line). Similarly, Love & Mercy can be described as a mishmash of Amadeus, A Beautiful Mind, and Shine – with elements of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and even 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is rarefied air, but entirely deserved, and the film should please both die-hard fans of The Beach Boys as well as general audiences with its unique style of musical storytelling and parallel story structure.