David Helfgott (played as a child by Alex Rafalowicz) is a piano prodigy, growing up in Perth in the 1950s.... more
David Helfgott (played as a child by Alex Rafalowicz) is a piano prodigy, growing up in Perth in the 1950s. His father Peter (Armin Mueller-Stahl) is a loving authoritarian, determined to keep his family together at all costs, a legacy perhaps of having lost family members during the Nazi Holocaust. In his teens, David (now played by Noah Taylor) is offered a scholarship to study in the US but his father forbids him to go. A few years later, David walks out on the family, to take a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, where he has a complete breakdown. He returns to Perth and spends years in psychiatric care and half-way houses. He is still estranged from his father, but he rediscovers his love of performing by playing piano in a restaurant. The restaurant owner (Sonia Todd) introduces him to one of her friends, an astrologer called Gillian (Lynn Redgrave), and a romance blossoms. Eventually, David returns to the concert hall, where he triumphs.