BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Geoffrey Rush gives an Oscar-winning performance as the Australian concert pianist David Helfgott, whose career was almost destroyed by mental illness. The film follows his progress from childhood prodigy to his breakdown in London, years of electrotherapy and a mental institution and a remarkable comeback in middle age. That may all sound improbable but it’s based on a true story. What ruined the young David was his loving but domineering father (Armin Mueller-Stahl), a Polish Holocaust survivor, whose insistence that David must always be the best drove him to madness. It’s a gripping story told without sentimentality that is both tragic and heart-warming. Rush is excellent, so is Mueller-Stahl, and there is strong support from John Gielgud, Googie Withers and Lynn Redgrave.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower ★★★
Shy teenager Logan Lerman is befriended by a couple of misfits (Harry Potter’s Emma Watson and We Need to Talk about Kevin’s Ezra Miller) in a coming-of-age drama that falls on the right side of the schmaltz line.
Kind Hearts and Coronets ★★★★★
This darkly comic Ealing tale features Alec Guinness is no less than eight different roles, playing the family dynasty standing in the way of Dennis Price achieving his inheritance. There’s only one solution… kill them all.
Liar Liar ★★★★
Jim Carrey gets his pants on fire as a man compulsively economical with the truth (he’s a lawyer, after all) who must be honest for 24 hours, in this frantic but funny comedy.
Midnight Run ★★★★
The chase is on in this wisecracking comedy thriller, which sees bounty hunter Robert De Niro dodging the Mob and the FBI as he attempts to escort slippery accountant Charles Grodin to court.
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