Review: Itzhak (3 of 5 stars)

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By Christina Nicole

Music is universal and personal at the same time, and the filmmakers behind Itzhak do a good job of showing the personal and universal through the life of the living legend Itzhak Perlman.

Itzhak is a violin prodigy and in his younger years people wanted to discount him because of his disability. Itzhak never let polio keep him from experiencing and enjoying life. He worked hard and found  and fostered community. He is an amazing violinist and teacher with a profound palpable passion for the music.

The filmmakers show Itzhak listening and responding to music and it is surely something to behold. He clearly hears more. The film shows a basic overview of Itzhak’s progression from child prodigy to adult savant. The film isn’t particularly informative or poignant; it’s a not an intimate look at his life, but it is not a bad film at all.

It’s cool to see Itzhak travel the world, get awards, stay at home, play shows, and interact with other awe-inspiring artists like Billy Joel and Alan Alda. He stays active and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s independent in such a way, that it is easy to forget that he is disabled. He is fortunate to live a life doing what he loves well, surrounded by interesting people and the audience can feel he is genuine; his unique brand of gratuitous genius shows.

He seems to have a simple life and loving wife. His wife is a scene stealer. She brings out the best in him and the love they share is true. You can see it when they interact with each other and you can hear it in her voice. They share the deep love that is supported and nourished through shared interests and experiences. Their love and marriage is one for the history books and something most only achieve in dreams.

As a musician, I give Itzhak 5 of 5 stars, but as a film, I give Itzhak 3 of 5 stars. It’s just ok. Itzhak is a compelling individual and from this documentary, it seems there is so much more to him than the medium could ever aspire to contain.

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