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Madame Sousatzka

Madame Sousatzka (1988)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 0

audience

66

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 323

My Rating

Movie Info

Shirley MacLaine is Madame Sousatzka, an aging piano instructor of Russian extraction. Entrenched in a dilapidated London rooming house, the Madame gives lessons only to the most gifted. She does not stop at mere instruction; Sousatzka insists that her pupils conduct their lives in the same genteel, cultured manner in which she was raised. Her prize student at the moment is an East Indian teenage boy (Navin Chowdhry), who forms a strong and loving bond with the old woman. Director John

Universal Studios

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All Critics (20) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (4)

It's as affectionate, big-hearted and creaky as any film that ever graced Radio City Music Hall, with leisureliness and dime-store philosophizing to match.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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An intimate and amusing adaptation of Bernice Rubens' novel.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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As charming and fanciful as it is impossible to pigeonhole.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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An extraordinary movie that loves music and loves the people it is about, and has the patience to do justice to both.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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One of MacLaine's strongest, most colorful roles

December 19, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Enjoyable, well-acted drama.

November 5, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

[MacLaine's] funny, clever and wondrous to behold, and she carries Madame Sousatzka to heights that might not readily seem warranted by the script, which is composed of elements that might seem overly familiar.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Madame Sousatzka

A piano teacher and a prodigy's mother vie for the pupil's devotion.
In the canon of teacher films, this provides a new category, the pedagogy of self-abnegation. Madame Sausatzka has an unfortunate string of pupils who learn from her then leave her. During their instruction she uses the basic tough love methods that we've come to expect from films of this ilk, and like To Sir with Love, which is the ultimate tough-love educator film, she forms an emotional bond with her students. But when she's left, she feels emptier, like a jilted lover. The film doesn't condemn her teaching methods; in fact it celebrates them because she emerges as an educator-hero, one who has sacrificed for the greater good. I don't like the message, but I think it's interesting.
Shirley MacLaine gives a very good performance, an abrasive attitude mixed with an inner pain. Navin Chowdhry is also very good, giving one of the better performance I've seen from a child actor.
The film's plot unfolds slowly, and it isn't until late in the second act that its pedagogical philosophy becomes clear. I also had no idea what was going on with the house in which Sousatzka was entrenched; I got that it was condemned or something, but the specifics of the problem and its solution failed to be a compelling plotline. Also, the subplot between Manek and Jenny was poorly set up.
Overall, I didn't like a lot about how the film was structured, but its basic idea is quite interesting.
October 26, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

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