Hilary and Jackie

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Hilary and Jackie: destiny is calling

Nov 7, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Suspense:

Pros:Exceptional performances, beautiful music, passionate story

Cons:Perhaps some bias from Hilary

The Bottom Line: A film that will not only capture your senses, but your heart as well. Brilliant!


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Hilary and Jackie

The movie is based on the book originally called “A Genius in the Family” written by Hilary and her brother Piers du Pre on the life of Jacqueline du Pre. It is a stunning piece of work, directed by Anand Tucker. Emily Watson played the role of Jackie and did so superbly. Rachel Griffiths played Hilary in an also outstanding performance.

It is the tragic life story of two sisters who grew up in England and were both exceptionally talented. Hilary played the flute and Jackie the cello. They were very close up to the point where Hilary got married to Kiffer Finzi (David Morrissey). Jackie, who was already extremely isolated as a musical genius, became even more so. She later married the pianist and conductor, Daniel Barenboim (James Frain). Whereas Hilary chose a country life and family, Jackie and Daniel had to travel a lot, constantly performing, leaving no room for anything but music.

Jackie once asked the question whether he would still love her the same if she could no longer play the cello. His answer cut right to the core of her fear, that of being loved for her performance and her talent, rather than who she was. This must have hurt tremendously, for we all long to be loved for who we are.

The relationship between the two sisters worsened when Jackie insisted to share Hilary's husband. It reached a breaking point and Jackie had to leave. She developed multiple sclerosis and her ability to play the cello was severely affected. At the very end, she could no longer play at all.

It is a very emotional film, with many sad moments. It is ironic how the one thing that she loved so much and was so talented in, was also her cage. She tried to escape the cello many times. She left it in the cab, but someone brought it in, she left it in the rain and in the sun, but to no avail. The music was she and she was the music. However this could not replace human love and understanding and she searched to find that same companionship she and Hilary had as children.

The music throughout the film is wonderful, whether as background or to enhance an emotional moment. The settings were carefully chosen, right down to color. There was the stormy night being dark and the cello moaning in accordance with the storm that played out in her. There was also the house where she stayed while ill, being light blue so as emphasize her loneliness and rejection, the emptiness of being forgotten. Then there was the bright sun and green grass in the country where Hilary stayed, an indication of human warmth and the love of a family. Her moods were as stormy as her life. Her attempts to draw attention to herself showed her longing to be loved and acknowledged not only as musical genius but also as a very sensitive person. The last moments of the film managed to capture her struggle for survival in a dark room with only her sister who knew how to comfort her, while people chat away in the room next door, without any consideration of her pain.

Jackie’s passion for music and life was successfully portrayed from her childhood to her lonely end. It is a look into the life of a successful musician, from a childhood filled with practice and performance, without any chance of building relationships other than with the cello, to the ever so lonely existence as an adult.

One of the great moments was the performance of the Elgar Cello Concerto. It is a moving film and even though people may think that it degrades Jackie, I believe it provides an insight to her struggle, which seemed to have gone unnoticed at the time. It is definitely worth seeing at least twice.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12


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