Think Billy Elliot with violins. Shy, sensitive Tang Yun is a 13-year-old violin prodigy who lives in a small village with his dad Liu Peiqi. After moving to Beijing for professional training, the technically proficient Yun has to learn to play with passion--which comes partly from attractive neighbor Chen Hong, a gold digger who unwittingly plucks the hormonal kid's heartstrings.
He gets other life lessons when secrets of his past are unearthed, revealing the strength of his father's love and commitment. Scenes with Yun's first teacher tend to strike the same note over and over, but director Chen Kaige orchestrates the second half of Together with such passion and poignancy that you forgive any early off-key moments. Buoyed by a terrific cast and soundtrack, the film builds to a stirring crescendo, heralding the importance of family and the healing power of music. A classy number.