Having once been genuinely passionate about the violin myself, I figured that, at the very least, Francois Girard's THE RED VIOLIN would at least be entertaining. But, finally having seen it all the way through recently, I didn't expect it to be fascinating and even tear-inducing---Joshua Bell's violin solos and John Corigliano's music (which won a well-deserved Oscar) are almost beautiful beyond words.
It is true that, on a whole, some parts of the film work better than others. This is basically an anthology of stories with the Red Violin being the connecting thread---barely---and while three of the stories are fascinating and even enlightening and moving (the Cremona, Vienna, and Montreal sequences), the two others (the Oxford and Shanghai sequences) are either unintentionally funny (the former) or simply slight and kinda pointless (the latter). And yet the dud sequences are hardly enough to counteract the great things in the movie: not only its technical flash and beautiful music, but its resonant theme about how we all, at one point or another, yearn for perfection and can't let it slip away so easily when we find it. Certainly instrument evaluator Charles Morritz (Samuel L. Jackson, in a restrained but powerful performance) cannot let his vision of perfection, which the Red Violin embodies, escape him.
If nothing else, THE RED VIOLIN will perhaps enlighten non-music lovers about why we love the violin, and even music, so much. And that is enough for this uneven but overall wonderful film to be worth seeing by everyone.