If you want to hear beautiful music, you’ve come to the right place; if you want to learn a lot about violinist Itzhak Perlman, maybe not so much. Director Alison Chernick combines contemporary fly-on-the-wall moments with archival footage and interviews for something that’s less a profile of the musician than a series of snapshots—some amusing, a few enlightening, but not much that sticks. There are hints that Perlman’s gifts were underestimated as a child because people focused on his disability—being left unable to walk unassisted due to childhood polio—and conversations indicating the joy he takes not just in performing music but in teaching and talking about it. He seems to be a decent, happily married fellow, so it’s lovely any time you see that prodigious artistic ability doesn’t mean being a horrible person. It simply feels like a superficial portrait of so immense a talent, even if it’s fun watching Perlman chat over a glass of wine with Alan Alda about their respective artistic process, or add a violin solo to the beginning of “We Didn’t Start the Fire” at a Billy Joel concert.
Director: Alison Chernick
Producer: Alison Chernick and Michael Kantor
Cast: Itzhak Perlman