Music of the Heart - * * 1/2*

Wes Craven directs this true story of a fiddle teacher (Meryl Streep) in East Harlem who gives her students a love and understanding of music, eventually taking them to perform at Carnegie Hall. Gloria Estefan will star as her friend and co-worker. Aidan Quinn will play Streep’s romantic interest, who introduces her to her Harlem school. Based on the short film Small Wonders. Angela Bassett, Jane Leeves, Cloris Leachman, Kieran Culkin, Jay O. Sanders, Charlie Hofheimer and Arnold Steinhardt will also star. Isaac Stern and Itzhak Perlman will play themselves. Previously titled Fiddlefest and 50 Violins.

Capsule Review: Though there’s not an unexpected note, the film plucks the heartstrings perfectly. The film is uplifting, as intended…but it’s no Mr. Holland’s Opus. Meryl Streep does a good job, as usual, and has a stellar supporting cast to back her up. You don’t need to enjoy violin music to appreciate this film, but it’s a strong plus.

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