Madame Sousatzka

Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann - the music moves the emotions, though nothing else does in this pedestrian version of Bernice Rubens' novel. Let's hear it again for the faded rooming-house full of types: the ageing osteopath queen (Bayldon), the ageing no-hope pop singer pushover in the attic (Twiggy), the aged, distracted, aristocratic owner in the basement (Ashcroft). And, in cloak and comic walk, severe but mush underneath, the ageing, imperious piano teacher of the title (MacLaine). Into this overworked literary armature arrives 14-year-old Manek (Chowdhry), a talented Indian lad with a domineering mother in back, for lessons. Madame soon has him in her grip, reining him in from concert exposure - though he is obviously mustard - before heading him off from the inevitable rite-of-passage in the attic. Probably conceived as more dislikeably monomaniacal than MacLaine plays her, this teacher has to get used to the painful fact that her chicks will fly the coop. Who could blame them? Fusty stuff.

Release details

Duration: 122 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Schlesinger
Screenwriter: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, John Schlesinger
Cast: Shirley MacLaine
Peggy Ashcroft
Twiggy
Shabana Azmi
Leigh Lawson
Geoffrey Bayldon
Lee Montague
Navin Chowdhry
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