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Overall Rating
3.28

Awesome35%
Worth A Look: 13%
Average: 16%
Pretty Bad: 17%
Total Crap: 19%

4 reviews, 76 user ratings


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English Patient, The
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by Charles Tatum

"The American Reviewer, Impatient"
2 stars

"Seinfeld" fans will remember the episode where Elaine was dragged to "The English Patient," and could not fathom why so many people she knew came to love it. I stand with Elaine.

In the closing days of World War II in Italy, Canadian nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) is not having a good week. She finds out her boyfriend has been killed in action, then watches another friend roll over a land mine. She decides she is cursed, and volunteers to stay behind with a mysterious burn patient and wait for him to die, then she will meet up again with her medical detachment.

The patient is suffering from amnesia, not remembering his own name. He has flashes of memory, including a wife. The pair stay at an abandoned monastery, but soon they receive visitors. Kip (Naveen Andrews) is a bomb detonator who takes a shine to Hana. Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe) is a thumbless morphine addict who immediately senses that he has met the burn victim before.

In the film's opening moments, we see the patient Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) and Katharine (Kristin Scott Thomas) suffer a horrible plane crash. The majority of the film is Almasy's recollections of meeting Katharine and falling in love with her.

Almasy was with some geologists, mapping the desert of North Africa. With war looming, the maps have become desirable to both sides of the conflict. Geoffrey (Colin Firth) arrives with wife Katharine in tow. Almasy and Katharine do not like each other, but certainly become good friends when they are trapped alone in a car during a sandstorm. They carry on an illicit affair, and Geoffrey soon finds out. Katharine breaks off all the sweaty sex, and Almasy mopes. I cannot give out too much about what happens to the pair, but the final fifteen minutes of the film are the best.

Anthony Minghella directs his own screenplay, but his editor should have put his foot down. While the film clocks in at one hundred and sixty minutes, it actually feels longer. Almasy and Katharine's story mostly takes place before the war, and Hana's story in the last days, and the film feels as long as the combat that filled in the half dozen years.

The film is certainly pretty, but Minghella gives us scenes from the novel without any deep characterization behind them. The courtship between Almasy and Katharine is mechanical and old-fashioned. Romantic lines that were old back when Humphrey Bogart made woo with Ingrid Bergman are transposed with hot and sweaty sex and nudity more akin to Cinemax. Colin Firth's reaction upon finding out about the affair is so overdone it is funny.

Willem Dafoe's Caravaggio should have been cut from the film completely. He is a listener as characters tell him everything. Watch for the completely unnecessary thumb losing scene, unless the world really needed a Jurgen Prochnow cameo. The rest of the performances are strictly one note until the final scenes when actual passion suddenly explodes onto the screen in between the frustration and the uninteresting wartime espionage subplot. Juliette Binoche's Oscar winning performance is a blank canvas left blank. She makes no impression whatsoever.

"The English Patient" is not the worst movie ever made, but might be one of the worst Best Picture Academy Award Winners ever made. I do not want to waste another three hours of my life sitting through it to be convinced otherwise.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=665&reviewer=325
originally posted: 10/02/03 04:26:46
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell very good 4 stars
3/01/14 PAUL SHORTT POWERFUL, WELL MADE ADAPTATION WITH SOME GOOD PERFORMANCES 4 stars
2/17/13 softy mcgee excellent film despite firth, who's bland as toast 5 stars
1/13/12 Simon Great imagery, ok acting, & neat interlocking details,but its a telenovela at its weak core 3 stars
6/27/11 DR Interesting novel - average film. Not a classic, not terrible. 2 stars
11/26/10 Jeff Wilder Proof that Indie does not automatically = Good. 1 stars
9/23/10 Emily Sand I'd like to see anyone try and sit through this movie after all these years. Can't be done 2 stars
2/19/10 rita pantoja Overated - I 'm now conviced that C Firth is just plain bad luck to any movie he's in. 2 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Binoche is about as believeable as O.J. saying "I'm innocent."The acting in this=excrement. 1 stars
6/14/07 Jenni OMG - I almost went into a coma! 1 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold Rather average and uninteresting; I don't know what to think of it: it made me sleep. 3 stars
12/18/06 Sepi53 Interesting, different wartime film 4 stars
6/28/06 Dani Wonderful, opulent film. 5 stars
2/14/06 Two Gun If I had not busied myself sharpening knives, would n ot have made it to the end 1 stars
12/25/05 Vega Must be the most boring and pointless movie that I've seen 1 stars
11/14/05 Michael Choose an illicit partner, get macabre results. A Godless movie. 2 stars
9/27/05 Mactheknife I resaw the English Patient last evening. It's powerful images and storyline transfixed m 5 stars
8/23/05 ES Literally & honestly the most boring movie ever made about war and wartime events 1 stars
7/26/05 Laura Lee Macleod big soppy epic should have been made 1940 3 stars
2/23/05 andrea313 I laughed, I cried. It was really moving. 4 stars
2/21/05 Nadie The critics said this was a good movie. I will never trust them again. 1 stars
2/06/05 Nobody This movie is AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL I would pay money NOT to see it 1 stars
1/03/05 UMER desrves all the accolades it received at the time it was released-wonderful movie indeed 5 stars
12/23/04 Tatiana Pretentious, overblown, and emotionally hollow. Not to mention dull. 1 stars
10/24/04 ODH Good looking film, but boring and offers nothing that hasnt been seen before. Waste of time 1 stars
9/26/04 Bucky Buckner Boone Binoche is the heart and soul and won an unexpected but deserved Oscar; rest is ok 5 stars
7/04/04 Jeff Semlow Great looking film, but overly sappy. 3 stars
6/22/04 T. Maj Self-conscious epic; pretentious and lifeless 2 stars
1/17/04 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. The script. The cinematography. The direction. The acting. Where's the HEART? 4 stars
10/29/03 ZF Great looking but skin deep and pretentious. Kip's dignity was robbed in the adaptation. 2 stars
8/14/03 Jeannie Karlsen Although I don't usually care for sappy love stories, Ralph Fiennes makes this work. 4 stars
7/02/03 your worse goddamn nightmare The script. The cinematography. The direction. The acting. Need I go on? 5 stars
5/17/03 Andrew Carden Thomas & Fiennes Are Amazing; Great Direction. One Flaw: An Awful Performance By Binoche. 4 stars
4/20/03 Jake Carlton fantastic film making 5 stars
3/28/03 Atanu I had 3 potentials scores with me while watching this, even then i had to tell it was crap 1 stars
3/25/03 Jack Sommersby Emotionally aloof and distressingly uninteresting. Dafoe comes off best. 2 stars
1/24/03 Pinkline Jones Recommend euthanasia for the entire Cast and Director 1 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock A faultless movie and superb transfre from a excellent novel 5 stars
7/19/02 Charles Tatum Slyder is so wrong; seriously boring 1 stars
3/07/02 Caravaggio, Willem Dafoe's character Two thumbs up! 4 stars
3/02/02 Jenny Tullwartz Overlong and muddled, but at least didn't have Demi Moore in it. 3 stars
2/21/02 luda hoe guy gets burned, guy reveals past, no one cares, i'm glad i didn't pay a lot to see it 3 stars
2/17/02 ACBCorp Superb cinematography, visually dazzling, average acting, overly long but worth it... 4 stars
12/17/01 bobbuttons its ok i guess, whatever 3 stars
12/02/01 travis r. sorensen watch this with a girl and you'll get laid-i guarantee it. 5 stars
11/27/01 sdfr lyrical, mysterious, poignant, heartbreaking, uplifting. It all worked very well somehow. 4 stars
8/31/01 spaceworm Someone abandon the teen critics i a cave with a bank book and no pen. 5 stars
8/31/01 Hooker with a Penis worth seeing it if not onle for the beautiful cinematography 5 stars
5/18/01 Bada Bing Crosby Worth it for Binoche ONLY..she is perfection, the rest is worthless 4 stars
4/24/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Great performances, but I like a little more bounce for my buck. That's just me... 3 stars
2/11/01 Gary Tooze Perfect film 5 stars
2/05/01 Triumph, the Insult Comic This was the perfect movie...for me to poop on!I kid!This movie was beautiful and haunting 5 stars
12/04/00 Cristopher Revilla at first i din't get it, but later viewings i understood it, it was good, liked it!!! 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin Please listen to Chris Drake, Gray, and BirdBrain 1 stars
11/03/00 dan nice full frontal nudity! 4 stars
10/16/00 BirdBrain No matter how pretty it is, boring as hell. 1 stars
9/07/00 Gray Looks great, Binoche is good but very boring, very shallow and lost up it's own ass. 1 stars
7/12/00 Chris Drake "Pretty" adultery is still adultery--I like Fiennes but (so far) none of his movies 1 stars
5/18/00 Keith contrary to Seinfeld, there's no bathtub sex in it, so save your money. 1 stars
4/13/00 Heather Awesome, intelligent, well acted, well deserved the Oscars 5 stars
3/03/00 Belinda Tardini I believe this film is so successful because of the acting. 4 stars
3/01/00 Ionicera Needs to be accepted and enjoyed on its own merit and not for the surrounding +/- hype 5 stars
1/12/00 John Markham VERY,VERY BORING. 1 stars
11/29/99 Mic Beautifully cinematographed. 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo awesome ONLY for Binoche who was great & for once an Oscar was deserved-rest of it was OK 5 stars
10/13/99 little jerry A simple love story trying way too hard for the profound.Titanic was more meaningful. 3 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Yawn...zzzz...etc.etc. 2 stars
1/24/99 Hannah I might have said it was decent if it wasn't *supposed* to be great. Made me want to vomit 3 stars
1/10/99 Dasha I don't care what you say, it WAS the movie of the year! 5 stars
1/07/99 Jo Mama This movie almost made me cry. Call me a pussy. 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules I must be fucked up or something. I didn't like it. In fact, I walked out before the end. 2 stars
10/13/98 tom wood ralph fiennes is all this movie needed 5 stars
9/27/98 katherine SUCKED SHIT!!!! i hate this film! it bored me 2 death. 2 stars
9/26/98 Maegs I loved it. I'm a girl. I couldn't help it. *weeep* 5 stars
9/06/98 Badass Wrong Whoopee! Length and desert make for great films, such as this and LAURANCE OF ARABIA. 5 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Bored me to fuck. Fiennes is a lifeless actor. Length and desert do not make a good film. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Nov-1996 (R)
  DVD: 29-Jun-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Feb-1997




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