If you’re looking for an artistic, international film, My Father’s Violin may be a suggestion for your next watch. With amusing characters and a sweet message about family, it is sure to leave viewers feeling warm inside. Music lovers will also find lots to enjoy with this movie that revolves around the power of the violin.
This Turkish musical drama begins with violinist Ali Razir (Selim Erdogan) and his precocious daughter Ozlem (Gulizar Nisa Uray). Living in poverty, the family bands together with fellow musicians to earn their living. When Ali dies after being ill, his brother, world-renowned violin virtuoso Mehmet (Engin Altan Duzyatan) is left to care for his niece. It’s a heart-tugging premise. Combined with gorgeous violin music, it’s the total package of a family-centered drama.
First, it must be said that the undisputed star of the show is Uray. Not only is she an incredibly adorable child, but she’s just so endearing in every scene. Her talent is obvious, and we feel for her character in a very real way. Seeing her supported by the adults in her life is uplifting, and seeing adults who don’t have her best interests at heart is soul-crushing. Her journey through grief and loss, to connection and healing is one her character is far too young to be on. However, it’s a privilege to join her on it through the course of the movie and we root for her every single step of the way.
My Brother’s Violin is also a meditation on family, specifically the relationship between brothers. The trauma that they faced as children clearly impacted them into their adult lives. There’s no more true to life story than childhood so profoundly impacting the rest of life. The tragedy of their separation and estrangement as adults is made more emotional by the fact that they were never able to reconcile as adults in their lifetimes. Unresolved trauma tears so many families apart, and this story was an all-too-real depiction of the consequences that result.
The three men raising Ozlem were just as endearing. They were clearly examples of the best of men, always considering their young charge’s welfare among all else. Had the movie not been a meditation on grief and trauma, it definitely would have worked as a Three Men and a Baby kind of situation. Their natural comedy was clear enough, and absolutely would have worked in their own separate movie.
The music of this movie was incredible. Music movies have the potential to be so comforting, since music speaks to our deepest selves. The violin in particular just pulls at the heartstrings in such a unique way. Any movies centered around the violin specifically have the chance to have such a deep emotional resonance. My Father’s Violin lives up to this potential in its best moments.
Although the story itself went in a very predictable way, it was no less impactful. Of course the orphaned niece would bond with her emotionally closed off uncle, both using their love of music to process their grief and loss. It’s a simple enough story, which ultimately made it more effective. These kinds of movies with a clear story are often in the best positions to make the biggest emotional impact.
Truthfully, the movie could have been at least half an hour less. The entire final subplot could have been cut. Although medical emergencies always ramp up drama, this one was completely unnecessary in the context of this movie. The endgame had already been established, and it was gratuitous to re-establish the stakes that had already been resolved.
My Father’s Violin makes a heartfelt, emotional watch. If you need violin music to feel your feelings, this may be the right movie for you. The music alone is worth listening too, and is sure to make you cycle through anything you might be feeling. This movie knows exactly what story it wants to tell, and that’s what makes it succeed.
My Father’s Violin is currently available to stream on Netflix.