Time: 125 mins.
Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Watson) and Best Supporting Actress (Griffiths).
SYNOPSIS: The tragic story of world renowned classic cellist Jacqueline du Pré, as told from the point of view of her sister, flautist Hilary du Pré-Finzi.
BOTTOM LINE: Emily Watson and Rachel Griffiths light up the screen in this rather thin melodrama about two musically talented sisters with very different life paths. This is supposedly the true tale of the world-famous, doomed cellist Jacqueline Du Pré, played with joy and poignancy by Watson, and her older sister Hilary, in a quietly powerful performance by Griffiths. They have great chemistry together, creating a complex sibling relationship filled with undying love and unspoken jealousy. They rely on each other, but secretly yearn for the other's life. Jackie's love/hate relationship with her talent and her need to feel normal is the core of the film, creating many casualties along her road to self discovery.
When she can no longer play due to the ravages of MS, your heart breaks for her loss. Even her illness can't bridge her betrayal of Hilary, leaving her all alone on her death bed. The structure of the film is a bit unnecessary, going over the same events from each sister's point of view, which is interesting to a point, but merely points out the lack of breadth in the story. The cinematography and art direction are quite lush, capturing the sisters emotions with varied light and color and bringing their inner worlds to life. This is a class act, merging great acting, stunning visuals and soul-pounding music, it just lacks enough depth of plot to push it over into genius.