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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.33%
Worth A Look: 10%
Pretty Bad: 23.33%
Total Crap: 6.67%

2 reviews, 18 user ratings

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At First Sight
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by Erik Childress

"Plot Struggle Works Against Romantic Drama"
3 stars

At First Sight (** ½) - There are two movies here. Both of them could have worked individually, but together they struggle for dominance of the moment, and it disappointed me.

The first 40 minutes of the film deals with the romance aspect of a beautiful woman to a blind man. These scenes work with a passion that hasn’t worked in numerous attempts to communicate a sensual feeling on the screen. The massage scenes are great and could have gone overboard but does just enough without becoming just a cheap thrill. Plus, anytime I can see Mira Sorvino get a massage (Hubbala-Hubbala Boom-ski). I also liked the way the script gave a certain sense of poetry to the way Kilmer’s character describes what he cannot see and the way it kind of inspires Sorvino. Then the film abruptly becomes a version of Awakenings (which, uncoincindentally, is based on the works of the same doctor, Oliver Sacks, that this film is), but I liked the way in which Kilmer discovers things and how he has to learn all over again what he’s seeing. But, according to the Syd Field book of Screenwriting 101 and every other screenwriting teacher I’ve ever had, there has to be conflict amongst the characters, and it feels forced. It takes away the romantic element of the film (for me) and makes Kilmer too stubborn for his own good, shutting Sorvino out. The script should also have thrown out the character of Sorvino’s ex-husband a lot earlier, instead of throwing in a phony potential tryst late in the picture. One thing that also bothered me thinking about the film in hindsight was the way that the decision to have the operation was handled. Sorvino discovers the doctor through a couple of articles clipped out and put in a scrapbook of Kilmer’s (complete with Braille captions under photographs). Yet, when it comes time to suggest what can be done for him, both Kilmer and his sister (the rapidly aged Kelly McGillis) get angry with her. Well, then who put the articles in the scrapbook and highlighted them? They must have had some prior hope for this treatment, since they are the only newspaper clippings in the book.

All this being said, Kilmer and Sorvino do work well together as a screen couple. Kilmer handles the blind jokes well without making them as corny as they could have been. I still was able to see where the film was headed and it wasn’t able to do anything for me the way Awakenings did. Both storylines could have worked on their own - if a better screenwriter was at the helm. (Spoiler Note: It’s funny to me that this real life doctor Oliver Sacks seems to be involved in bringing handicapped people joy in their lives for brief periods of time before his treatments finally fail on him, bringing them back to their original states. Tell me who’s crueler - Sacks or Kevorkian.)

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originally posted: 02/15/00 15:33:29
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User Comments

4/26/08 alma i love val kilmer 5 stars
12/31/05 Jeff Anderson Flawed, but surprisingly moving. Mira Sorvino is again a breath of fresh air & is terrific! 4 stars
7/09/04 tatum The kind of flick you take a date to in order to get in her pants 3 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Hokey. Trivializes its subject. Val Kilmer wasted. 2 stars
3/10/03 Jack Sommersby Affecting little love story aided by superb lighting and performances. 4 stars
5/04/01 Gracy Lionheart Not a film that made me feel anything. 2 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L UGH UGH UGH Only three UGHs because I fell asleep 1 stars
8/04/00 Pandora Overly melodramatic but interesting and poignant love story. 4 stars
9/29/99 Brentus Story line was ok, but very predictable 3 stars
6/25/99 steve bakker total crap is being generous 1 stars
5/28/99 Feral Utterly forgettable disease-of-the-week weepie. Kilmer again displays his lack of talent. 2 stars
3/24/99 Ah Dooey Val Kilmer, you failed me big time. 3 stars
2/05/99 calgary47 Val kilmer is disgusting 2 stars
2/02/99 Robin Bellamy The whole story was one long forgetable cliche. It belongs on the Life Time channel. 3 stars
1/25/99 Meepos. Blurgh. Meandering, slow, boring. 2 stars
1/18/99 Mr Showbiz Mira Sorvino seems lost, but Val Kilmer is surprisingly good as a blind masseur 3 stars
1/16/99 Bridgette nothing special at all. even sorvino and kilmer can't save this writing. 2 stars
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  15-Jan-1999 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Irwin Winkler

Written by
  Oliver Sacks
  Steve Levitt
  Rob Cowan

  Val Kilmer
  Mira Sorvino
  Kelly McGillis
  Steven Weber
  Bruce Davison

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