In Music of the Heart, directed by Wes Craven, Meryl Streep plays real-life Roberta Guaspari, a Navy wife who, dumped by her husband, moves to East Harlem and talks her way into a job teaching violin to school children. (Guaspari’s story also was the basis for an Oscar-nominated documentary, Small Wonders.) The film’s climax arrives when Roberta’s classes, a fixture in the inner-city schoolscape, are cut. In order to raise money, and a ruckus, she launches a successful charity fund-raiser at no less than Carnegie Hall, with her students concertizing en masse with the likes of Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern (both playing themselves, with Stern presiding over his scenes like Yoda). The tone of inspirational uplift is familiar from movies like Stand and Deliver and Mr. Holland’s Opus – which is to say, it’s familiarly awful. Streep plays her role like a rowdy den mother. Everybody involved must think they’re striking a blow for the compulsory funding of music education in our schools, but the implicit, and misguided, message here seems to be that superhuman efforts can always save the day. What about all those hardworking, marginalized music teachers who aren’t chummy with Isaac Stern?