Sometimes real life turns out just like a TV movie. The story of music teacher Roberta Guaspari-Tzavaras is one such instance, where her dedication to the students on her East Harlem Violin Program produced such remarkable results that these slum kids ended up fiddling away on the stage of Carnegie Hall in a fund raising event. It's a rousing, inspirational tale all right, and a plum vehicle for Streep as the music tutor who simply would not take 'no' for an answer. But we sort of know that it's a rousing, inspirational tale before we go in, so the film has to be something rather special to make us experience that response anew. With the best will in the world, Craven's offering is merely decent, standout Streep aside. To be fair on Craven and his cast, it never gets too sickly, and it doesn't try and sell us any line about classical music ennobling the soul, choosing instead to give its young people something they can do which improves their self-esteem. Bassett (headmistress) and Estefan (fellow teacher) are clearly there to broaden the demographic, but Meryl dominates the proceedings. She simply disappears into the role, and the movie, for all its educational impulses, becomes about watching her do it.
Cast and crew
Jay O Sanders