Music of the Heart
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +1

Following her separation, all that Roberta Guaspari (Meryl Streep) wants to do is lie in bed and think about what could have been. But from the insistence of her mother, Roberta goes out to find work. In the process, she meets up with Brian Sinclair (Aidan Quinn), an old friend who suggests that Roberta meet a friend of his about a job. Since Roberta is a talented violinist, Brian recommends her to Janet Williams (Angela Basset), a school principal in East Harlem, to possibly teach violin. Robertas determination eventually gets her the job, and she begins teaching a few students. Those few students at one school increase to 150 at three schools over the course of the next ten years. But when a lack of funding puts Robertas job in jeopardy, she and her students must find a way to keep the program going. Based on a true story, this film is as inspiring as they come and leaves the audience not knowing whether to cry or to cheer. Meryl Streep turns in another phenomenal performance, making way for the possibility of Academy Awards early next year.

The film raises several issues, most notably how the children in our inner cities should be taught. Roberta wants to teach them the violin, and at first she finds opposition among those who feel that the violin doesnt belong in the inner city. Also raised is the issue of divorce and how it affects the children who are left in its wake. In one scene, Roberta finds herself having to explain to her young son why their father doesnt want to live with them. How does she tell her child that dad is not rejecting them, just her? These scenes in particular are very moving and realistic. There's a slight indication that Roberta and Brian are involved in a sexual relationship but, while one sexual encounter is implied, nothing overtly suggestive is shown or heard. The major flaw in the film is the inclusion of 3 regular profanities. But other than its limited offensive language, MUSIC OF THE HEART will be music to the ears of both teenagers and adults.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

Crude Language: Few (4) times - Mild 3, Moderate 1
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Many (12) times - Regular 3 (G 2, J 1); Exclamatory 9 (My God, Oh God, Oh my God)
Violence: Once Mild (children fight)
Sexual Intercourse: Once Implied (unmarried couple in bedroom together in the morning)
Nudity: None; Near Nudity: Once (cleavage)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Once (alcohol)
Other: Film inspires people to achieve; tense family scenes involving divorce; issues raised involving the education of inner city children
Running Time: 124 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Teenagers and Adults

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