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Music of the Heart


Music of the Heart

Wes Craven director


Story of a schoolteacher's struggle to teach violin to inner-city Harlem kids.

Production Co. Craven-Maddalena Films, Miramax Films
Distributor Asmik Ace Entertainment, Miramax Films
Release Date October 29, 1999
Running Time 123 minutes
  • Meryl Streep
  • Angela Bassett
  • Aidan Quinn
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Cloris Leachman
  • Jane Leeves
  • Kieran Culkin
  • Charlie Hofheimer

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Inspired by the true story of the Opus 118 Harlem School of Music and 'Small Wonders', a 1996 documentary about the school, the film opens with violinist Roberta having been deserted by her US Navy husband and feeling devastated, almost suicidal. Encouraged by her mother, she attempts to rebuild her life and a friend from student days recommends her to the head teacher of a school in the tough New York area of East Harlem. Despite a degree in music education, she has little experience in actual music teaching, but she's taken on as a substitute violin teacher. With a combination of toughness and determination, she inspires a group of kids, and their initially skeptical parents. The program slowly develops and attracts publicity.

Ten years later, the string program is still running successfully at three schools, but suddenly the school budget is cut and Roberta is out of a job. Determined to fight the cuts, she enlists the support of former pupils, parents and teachers and plans a grand fund-raising concert, 'Fiddlefest', to raise money so that the program can continue. But with a few weeks to go and all participants furiously rehearsing, they lose the venue. Fortunately, the husband of a publicist friend is a violinist in the Guarneri Quartet, and he enlists the support of other well-known musicians, including Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman. They arrange for the concert to be mounted at Carnegie Hall.

Other famous musicians, including Mark O'Connor, Michael Tree, Charles Veal Jr., Arnold Steinhardt, Karen Briggs, Sandra Park, Diane Monroe, and Joshua Bell, join in the performance, which is a resounding success.

The film's end credits declare that the Opus 118 program is still running successfully. They also report that the school's funding was restored during the making of the film.

Source: Wikipedia

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