Shine tells the story of the Australian pianist David Helfgott. The gifted musician has always faced communication problems. A strained relationship with his family and mental illness only made matters worse.

David went through training at London’s Royal College of Music and a long treatment in a mental hospital but never gave up his calling. Even now, he is an excellent pianist who gathers full concert halls in Australia.

Interesting Facts

  • Shine was presented to the audience of the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 1996. In Australia, the film was released in August and saw a worldwide release only six months later.
  • For his performance as an adult David Helfgott, Geoffrey Rush received four major awards for an actor — Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award. Overall, Shine was nominated for seven Oscars, but that year, few could compete with The English Patient.
  • It is interesting that Geoffrey Rush decided to take piano lessons again for filming in order to act without a double. The actor learned to play piano as a child but gave up at the age of 14.
  • The documentary Hello I Am David! saw the light of day about the current life of Helfgott.
  • Immediately after its release, Shine sparked controversy about how true-to-life the story was told in the film. David’s sister Margaret even wrote the book Out of Tune, in which she shares her version of events. Margaret says that their father was not a tyrant and controlled David solely for good reasons. Not only members of the Helfgott family, but David’s wife, Gillian, reacted to these words in different ways. It is still unclear whose words are true.


This is an Australian musical drama film based on real-life events.

The world premiere of Shine took place on January 21, 1996.

More Like This

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Tags: music, pianist, classical music, based on true events, drama, biography, Geoffrey Rush

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