(On Cable TV, February 2019) The obvious knock against Shine is that it does, at times, seems like the most Oscar-baiting of all the Oscar-baiting films. While it doesn’t qualify for Nazi bonus points, it does feature a down-and-out disabled musical prodigy who, thanks to the love of a good woman, regains his talent and his ability to live normally—and it’s based on a true story. It went on to be nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning Geoffrey Rush an Oscar for Best Actor. If it seems to you that you’ve seen quite enough of those movies already, you’re not wrong: it’s a formula, and even the best-executed formulas can still feel overly similar. Still, this is all understating that Shine is, by most standards, a really good movie. Rush gets a flashy role as a musical prodigy hampered by an overbearing father and his own brain’s chemical imbalances—it’s not subtle acting, but it’s the kind of off-beat grand performance that earns notices. The point being that this is the kind of film that allows actors to take centre stage. The focus on music allows Shine to feature better-than-average editing and scoring, further making it feel substantial. As far as formulas go, it’s a successful implementation. There have been far worse Oscar nominees.