A film about struggling to deal with paralysis. Author Joel Garcia breaks his neck while hiking, and finds himself in a rehabilitation centre with Raymond, an exaggerating ladies' man, and ... See full summary »
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Klaus Maria Brandauer,
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Ed Begley Jr.,
A film about struggling to deal with paralysis. Author Joel Garcia breaks his neck while hiking, and finds himself in a rehabilitation centre with Raymond, an exaggerating ladies' man, and Bloss, a racist biker. Considerable tension builds as each character tries to deal with his new found handicap and the problems that go with it, especially Joel, whose lover Anna is having as difficult a time as he is. As Raymond reveals a dream about dancing on the surface of a lake to stay afloat, it becomes apparent that each of them must find his own Waterdance to survive his tragedy. Written by
Michael Silva <email@example.com>
This film never received the attention it deserved, although this is one of the finest pieces of ensemble acting, and one of the most realistic stories I have seen on screen. Clearly filmed on a small budget in a real V.A. Hospital, the center of the story is Joel, very well-played by Eric Stoltz. Joel has been paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, and comes to the hospital to a ward with other men who have spinal injuries. Joel is in love with Anna, his married lover, played by Helen Hunt, who shows early signs of her later Academy-Award winning work.
Although the Joel-Anna relationship is the basic focus, there are many other well-developed characters in the ward. Wesley Snipes does a tremendous job as the angry Raymond. Even more impressive is William Forsythe as the bitter and racist Bloss. I think Forsythe's two best scenes are when he becomes frustrated and angry at the square dancers, and, later, when he feels empathy for a young Korean man who has been shot in a liquor store hold up. My favorite scene with Snipes is the in the roundtable discussion of post-injury sexual options.
The chemistry between Stoltz and Hunt is very strong, and they have two very intimate, but not gratuitous, sex scenes. The orgasm in the ward is both sexy and amusing. There is also another memorable scene where Joel and Bloss and the Korean boy take the specially-equipped van to the strip bar. It's truly a comedy of errors as they make their feeble attempts to get the van going to see the "naked ladies."
The story is made even more poignant by the fact that the director, Neal Jimenez, is paralyzed in real life. This is basically his story. This film is real, not glossy or flashy. To have the amount of talent in a film of such a small budget is amazing. I recommend this film to everyone I see, because it is one of those films that even improves on a second look. It's a shame that such a great piece of work gets overlooked, but through video, perhaps it can get the attention it so richly deserves.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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