Hilary and Jackie (1998) starring Emily Watson, Rachel Griffiths, James Frain, David Morrissey, Charles Dance, Celia Imrie directed by Anand Tucker Movie Review

Hilary and Jackie (1998)   4/54/54/54/54/5

Emily Watson in Hilary and Jackie (1998)

Dedication and Compulsion

As a child it was Hilary du Pré (Keylee Jade Flanders/Rachel Griffiths) who won the plaudits with her flute playing always thinking of her younger sister Jacqueline (Auriol Evans/Emily Watson). Hilary's success leads to Jacqueline dedicating herself to becoming as good as her sister but on the Cello and she not only becomes as good as but surpassing her leading to her becoming one of the most in demand cellists in the world whilst Hilary gave up on trying to be a great musician and happily settle for marriage to Kiffer Finzi (David Morrissey). But at the height of her fame Jacqueline is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis cutting short her career.

As a child I remember when Jacqueline du Pré died because all of a sudden there was footage of this long haired woman playing Cello with such gusto that it is a wonder she didn't end up breaking her cello. It was until just a few hours ago the only thing I knew about Jacqueline du Pré but it had stuck with me ever since that sense of complete and utter passion for playing, being lost in the music but being technically perfect at the same time.

Rachel Griffiths in Hilary and Jackie (1998)

That brings me to the movie "Hilary and Jackie" which in many ways is as stunning as Jacqueline du Pré because it manages to keep someone like me who is not in to classical music or those who play it captivated by the characters and their story. On the subject of which this is a movie really of two stories; Hilary's and Jackie's but in telling them tells of their troubled relationship from sisterly love to the competitiveness and also the fact that Jackie always wanted what Hilary had; the success, the marriage and even the man. It is a truly compelling storyline and told in such a way that "Hilary and Jackie" becomes more than a biopic, it becomes a drama.

But whilst the story is a big part of why "Hilary and Jackie" is captivating it is also the performances and both Rachel Griffiths and Emily Watson bringing to life the contrasting characters of the sisters with Watson bringing out the almost frightening side of Jackie, the compulsion which appears as a lust for life and everything which can switch to dark and disturbed in a blink of an eye. And as for scenes of Jackie playing, the movement from Watson is stunning and brings to life the aspect of passion for music.

What this all boils down to is that "Hilary and Jackie" is 100% compelling from the story to the performances to the look it is genuinely fantastic. And the most amazing thing is that even for someone who is not a fan of classical music this is still compelling which makes me wonder how accurate a representation of real life it is, only those closest to Hilary and Jackie can tell you.