"Real fearlessness is the product of our tenderness," according to Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa. "It comes from letting the world tickle your raw and beautiful heart." In this inspirational and emotionally rich drama directed by Wes Craven, a woman at the end of her rope after she is deserted by her husband finds a path of the heart that enables her to share her gift with the world.
While living with her mother (Cloris Leachman) and looking after her two sons, Roberta Guaspari (Meryl Streep) meets Brian Sinclair (Aidan Quinn), a writer and old classmate who recalls her talent as a violin player. He sets up a meeting for her with Janet Williams (Angela Bassett), principal of a school in East Harlem. Roberta joins the staff as a substitute music teacher. Although her cynical supervisor (Josh Pais) is convinced that she won't be able to handle these undisciplined and troubled inner city kids, her unorthodox teaching style works wonders with them.
Ten years later, Roberta has violin classes in three inner city schools. Kids are chosen by lottery and must make a commitment to practice every day. Then the school board cuts her program out of the budget and she decides to fight the decision. All of her determination, patience, and perseverance pay off in a surprise that turns things around for Roberta and her proud students. Miracles happen to those who keep the heart moist and open.