The true story of pianist David Helfgott. In Australia in the 1950s, child prodigy David (an Oscar-winning Geoffrey Rush) is pushed hard by his father, Peter, and catches the attention of music tutor Ben Rosen, who teaches David for free. Ben encourages David to learn Rachmaninov's 3rd Concerto, but Peter forbids it, thinking that the piece is too complex. When David departs for a scholarship at London's Royal College of Music, Peter severs all ties with his son. As the young musician comes to perform the concerto he collapses, suffering a nervous breakdown.