Opening 20 Jun 2019
This is a coming-of-age film about a gifted piano player who lacks money, support, guidance, and, most of all, confidence to develop his talent. Mathieu (Jules Benchetrit) lives with his mother and siblings in one of the troubled Parisian suburbs. He inherited a piano from a neighbor who gave him lessons when he was a child; since the old man died, he doesn't play it much anymore. Classical music isn't valued in this environment. On his way to work though, he can never resist playing the piano that is placed for public use in the busy train station Gare du Nord. This is where Pierre Geithner (Lambert Wilson), principal of an esteemed Parisian music school, notices him and is enchanted by his playing It will take Pierre much more than handing Mathieu a business card to convince him to try out at the conservatoire.
This film is as much about the protégé as it is about his teachers—especially his piano teacher "The Countess" (Kristin Scott Thomas)—who give it their all to further an extraordinary talent and put much effort into getting Mathieu ready for an important music competition. Ludovic Bernard (director/writer) was inspired by Billy Elliott - I will Dance (2000) to write this story. His film doesn't engage the audience emotionally as much, partly because Mathieu’s character has not been developed significantly beyond "the angry young man". It still is a worthwhile film about the power of music and the importance of teachers, and Bernard avoids predictability by 'infusing' some fresh ideas into this all too familiar genre.106 minutes. (Carola A)