“That is your first husband — that! You marry it, the way a nun marries Jesus — you cleave to it because it gives your life a center that no man — that very few men — can possibly give you.”
Two rival pianists (Richard Dreyfuss and Amy Irving) fall in love while rehearsing for a competition in San Francisco.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Amy Irving Films
- Aspiring Stars
- Lee Remick Films
- Richard Dreyfuss Films<
The Competition tackles an interesting and provocative question: is it possible for rivals to carry out a successful romance? As someone who studied classical music for several years, I can vouch for the authenticity of the dilemma facing these two young musical hopefuls, who find themselves torn between mutual admiration, genuine attraction, and intense rivalry. Director Joel Oliansky doesn’t try to provide pat answers to this dilemma; and while Dreyfuss’s petulant behavior towards Irving may be difficult to watch, it’s realistic. Unfortunately, however, the film is marred by constant forays into the lives of the other competitors — most notably a Russian student who must deal with her teacher defecting to the West (surely included for its political timeliness rather than any other reason). These subplots distract us from the film’s primary characters, who should have remained the sole focus.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Richard Dreyfuss as Paul
- Amy Irving as Heidi
- Lee Remick as Irving’s piano teacher
- Plenty of beautiful piano music, well “performed” by Dreyfuss and Irving (who trained for four months for their roles)
No, but it’s recommended for classical music fans.