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In their close childhood, Hilary (Rachel Griffiths), a flautist, was considered the greater talent than her younger sister Jackie (Emily Watson). Through practice and hard work, however, Jackie elevated herself to her sister's level, and beyond. As an adult, Hilary all but gave up the flute in favour of marriage and a family, while Jacqueline chose fame and the concert stage. The price was a desperate yearning to have the stability and happiness that Hilary had. Fate had other plans.

Review by Louise Keller:
The poignancy of Hilary and Jackie is underscored from the very first strains of the cello's mellow tones and soulful song. Disturbing and moving, this glimpse of a tragic, talented life is extraordinary by its frankness and made wonderful by the performances.

We've seen the range of Emily Watson's talents in Breaking the Waves, and here, she is mesmerising. It's a complex role, and one that Watson embraces wholeheartedly. She is impressively matched by Rachel Griffiths, who delivers a subtle performance that is as internal as Watson's is external. We can feel Griffiths' every thought, her every pain. This is certainly a vehicle to propel her talents into the stratosphere.

Effectively structured with two parts, each offering a singular, subjective point of view, Frank Cottrell Boyce's excellent screenplay canvasses the issues of sibling rivalry and unequivocal love. Based on the book by Hilary du Pre, this blatantly honest view of her talented sister is heartfelt and telling. It is quite obvious that these 'peas in a pod' whose telepathic abilities illustrated their closeness, both suffered enormously.

Powerful and dramatic, this story of obsession and passion is coloured by a soaring soundtrack that is both jolting and emotive. Strains from Elgar, Bach, Hayden, Handel and Dvorjak are strident, fervent, yet gentle and often simply beautiful. Hilary and Jackie is not always comfortable to watch - but throughout, there is a strong integrity of passionate film making, approached confidently and with authority. Throughout the troubled life of this celebrated artist, the applause is never enough; we are fortunate in that we can continue to enjoy du Pre's extraordinary talents through recordings and records such as this memorable film.

Published January 29, 2004

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CAST: Emily Watson, Rachel Griffiths, James Frain, David Morrissey, Charles Dance, Celia Imrie, Rupert Penry-Jones, Bill Paterson, Auriol Evans, Keeley Flanders, Grace Chatto, Nyree Dawn Porter

DIRECTOR: Anand Tucker

SCRIPT: Frank Cottrell Boyce

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 16: 9 enhanced

SPECIAL FEATURES: Theatrical trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: February 11, 2004

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