Following in the footsteps of Sam Raimi (""), Wes Craven steps out of his usual horror/slasher fare and does a remarkable job with the material, establishing a new trajectory for his directing career. Craven treats the material with great sensitivity and care, and he avoids the temptation of using blatant sentimentality to push the audience's buttons. In fact, a number of the film's more melodramatic moments, such as Roberta's older son (Michael Angarano) trying to come to terms with his father not coming back, are handled in a surprisingly low-key manner without the overt emotional manipulation seen in films such as "". Also, considering how much material is covered in the film's two-hour running time, "Music of the Heart" never feels rushed or lagging as it details the important milestones of Roberta's career while keeping in mind the economy of storytelling.
In a movie-going season dominated by rampant nihilism and cynicism, "Music of the Heart" is a refreshing alternative, a solid film that inspires and entertains. Even jaded filmgoers who have had their fill of the 'teacher does good' genre will find much to like in this latest entry. With Streep's superb performance, Craven's skillful directing, beautiful orchestrations, and an uplifting story, "Music of the Heart" is undeniably one of the must-see films of the fall season.
For those of you that might actually see my reviews, you should know that character development is HUGE with me. I also need to be able to visualize. I'm sure I'm not the only one and that's not why I'm saying this. I'm saying this because this book right here - Music of the Heart - I was right there. I WAS Abby. Jake was wooing me. Every emotion, every second of angst - every second of pleasure, they were MINE.