Music of the Heart
Docudrama | English | 135 minutes
Roberta Guaspari, a talented violinist, recently divorced, unemployed, depressed, is living at home with her domineering mother Assunta while struggling to raise two sons. Her current boyfriend, Brian Turner, suggests she teach violin to students at an East Harlem school in Manhattan. The stern, no-nonsense principal, Janet Williams, is unresponsive to Roberta’s unconventional ideas of teaching music to inner city kids. Roberta talks her way to getting hired as a substitute teacher. To Janet’s amazement, Roberta succeeds beyond expectations. But then New York City severely cuts the budget for the Board of Education, Roberta is dismissed and her entire program terminated. A well-connected, wealthy supporter, Dorothea von Haeften, convinces Roberta she can raise money and continue the program by holding a benefit featuring her students playing violin classics. Dorothea is able to wangle Carnegie Hall. The program, with these kids, has so impressed giants like Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern, they asked to join the students playing Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins. The benefit is a huge success. Roberta can continue doing her magnificent job. Her students, surrounded by drugs and crime, will learn and play violin pieces by Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven.
Itzhak Perlman / Isaac Stern / Arnold Steinhardt / Mark O’Connor, Michael Tree / Charles Veal, Jr. / Karen Briggs / Sandra Park / Diane Monroe / Joshua Bell
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 64%
- Metacritic Score: 54
- Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Actress (Meryl Streep)
- Golden Globes: Nominated, Best Actress (Meryl Streep)
- CinemaScore gave the film a rare A+ grade
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Most movies claiming to be based on fact pour on the melodrama, but this one basically just sticks to the real story, which has all the emotional wallop that’s needed.
Not many of us enjoy being lectured by dressed-down Hollywood stars in gritty classroom situations, but Ms. Guaspari’s story has been given a blunt, no-nonsense tone that works.
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