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Hilary and Jackie (1998)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 45
Fresh: 40 | Rotten: 5

Brilliant performances, lush cinematography, and complex storytelling deserve audience's attention.


Average Rating: 8/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 1

Brilliant performances, lush cinematography, and complex storytelling deserve audience's attention.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 6,441

My Rating

Movie Info

Perhaps inspired by the success of biopics like Shine and Amadeus, this film based on a true story -- and a book (entitled A Genius in the Family) -- also focuses on the destructive forces of being a musical genius. Hilary and Jacqueline du Pré are gifted sisters who grow up in England in the 1950s and compete for musical accolades and love. Hilary (Rachel Griffiths) is a talented flutist, but it's her younger sister, Jackie (Breaking the Waves' Emily Watson), who is the musical "genius"



Frank Cottrell Boyce

Jul 20, 1999

October Films

Watch It Now



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All Critics (70) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (5) | DVD (8)

An extraordinary film!

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

No, it's not a movie about two first ladies married to adulterous husbands.

July 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

One of the best films of the year. An emotionally gripping tale about obsession, family and love.

August 23, 2002

Shows the high price that must be paid by families with a genius in their midst.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

A compelling look at the life of a classical musician as well as the lasting effects of sibling rivalry.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Screen It!
Screen It!

Brilliant, heart-wrenching!

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

has already drawn comparisons to 'Shine' ...But 'Hilary' is a more accomplished and demanding film, one that doesn't find a convenient villain to pin cellist Jacqueline Du Pre's troubles on.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

A thought-provoking and poignant ode to Jackie du Pre's life.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

An uncommonly well-rounded portrait of a tormented genius.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

It's an artsy soap opera that would serve as a monumental TV movie, but shines dimly as a feature film.

January 1, 2000
TNT's Rough Cut

You're so disconnected from the protagonists in this film...that you really don't care what happens to either Jackie or Hilary.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

A revelation when it allows us to see what people surrender for art, as well as why people surrender their art.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Scott Renshaw's Screening Room
Scott Renshaw's Screening Room

Audience Reviews for Hilary and Jackie

Interesting biopic of two musical sisters. I don't follow the world of classical music, so I had never heard of Jackie du Pre. The movie does make you care for her and the waste of her life cut short by MS.
August 24, 2008

Super Reviewer

Worthy and cleverly structured biopic of a troubled sole struck down by MS. Emily Watson is excellent as always.
October 10, 2007
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

The du Pre sisters played by a couple of fine performers. I imagine that sisters will get the most out of the experience but it I certainly enjoyed it.
January 26, 2010
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

A modest, occasionally gorgeous bio pic with fantastic performances by Emily Watson and Rachel Griffiths. The same story told twice device (pardon the rhyme) cleverly offers insight into Jackie's character. She's really not a self-involved bitch, she's understandably jealous of the simple life Hilary has going for her. It sounds rather obvious on paper, but it really comes through on film. I would have liked to learn more about Rachel Griffth's husband's character, but hey, there's not who the film chooses to focus on. Emily Watson is an amazing actress (see: Breaking the Waves) and she flaunts her stuff in a showy role, without overdoing it. To her credit, Rachel Griffiths plays her supporting role straight, and shines simply for taking the back seat.
January 12, 2008
Joey Nevarez

Super Reviewer

    1. Jacqueline Du Pre: Listen to that, it sounds like you are running for a bus.
    2. Daniel Barenboim: I've never run for a bus in my life!
    – Submitted by Alfred B (15 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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