Plot: Story of a schoolteacher’s struggle to teach violin to inner-city Harlem kids.
Have you seen Dangerous Minds? Did you sit through it thinking, ‘I wish Gloria Estefan was in this’? Well, you may be in luck.
Even if you haven’t seen Michelle Pfeiffer get down with the kids, you know the plot of this film. Sad white lady is unlucky in love, so decides to dedicate her life to educating children. She moves to a rough part of town to teach underprivileged kids music. One of the kids is really good, but he’s also a trouble maker. Will everything come together for their end of term recital? Will the underfunded music programme be cancelled? Will she actually find love at the end after all? I just don’t know.
I want you all to take a second and just… breathe. Deep breaths. Now listen to me. I want you all to play from your heart. Forget about the audience, watch me, you’ll do just fine. Just play from here.
– Roberta Guaspari
This is the kind of film they show you at school during the last few days of term. Scenes of mild peril (to be fair, one of the kids gets gunned down out of the blue which is a bit much for a primary school curriculum), leading to a finale where everything works out alright. It’s a nice film that requires no brainpower and certainly doesn’t make the most of Meryl. A lot of the ill-feeling towards her continued Academy Award nominations is unfounded, but her Best Actress nod for this film seems a bit much.
Riding off her recent Evita praise, Madonna was originally signed on for the lead role but left before shooting began due to ‘creative differences’ with director Wes Craven. Instead, we are treated to Gloria Estefan’s film debut, which sadly does not include an impromptu performance of Turn The Beat Around.
The credits are rolling and I breathe a sigh of relief. The saccharine taste in my mouth is still fresh from the final scenes, but (I assume) I AM FREE. How foolish I was. While Dangerous Minds had 90s megajam ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ as it’s title track, Music of the Heart enlists Gloria and her good friends *NSYNC for their creatively titled duet ‘Music of the Heart’. It is an abomination and a blight on both their discographies.
While it was an enjoyable enough way to spend a few hours, Music of the Heart is a tune I never need to hear again.