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After a terrible air disaster, survivor Max Klein emerges a changed person. Unable to connect to his former life or to wife Laura, he feels godlike and invulnerable. When psychologist Bill Perlman is unable to help Max, he has Max meet another survivor, Carla Rodrigo, who is racked with grief and guilt since her baby died in the crash which she and Max survived. Written by
One of the few films that in the end brought on a full-fledged catharsis
When I first saw "Fearless" in a movie theater, I believe there were about 20 to 30 other moviegoers in the theater on a weekday afternoon. It was in it's second week in theaters. After the credits rolled, I heard a lot of weeping from the small but vocal audience.
Maybe the film flopped because some people expected a 1970's-style disaster flick with cardboard characters, laughable dialog and unknown extras & doubles performing dangerous stunts.
It's been almost eight years since watching "Fearless" for the first time. This is one of only 5 movies I actually own in my very small tape library.
Director Peter Weir amazes me. With a few exceptions (I didn't like "Dead Poets Society" and I haven't seen "Green Card"), he has always walked on a tightrope when it comes to telling a story. It might not result in a "satisfying" ending but when you think about what was presented two hours earlier, it makes a lot of sense. It's a logical and very fascinating progression.
I believe that Jeff Bridges can (almost) do no wrong. His character may not be very likable but put yourself in his character's shoes and you may understand the reasons why he believes that he is "fearless".
I haven't seen Isabella Rossellini's performance in "Blue Velvet" but it makes me wonder if her performance in that film beats her role as the caring but very confused wife of Jeff Bridges' character. She's definitely the heart of "Fearless". I cared for her. I felt empathy; her confusion of what her husband was doing to himself, her family and herself. She's on the outside trying her best to understand what it was like to survive a plane crash. But at the same time, not totally understanding what it was like to be on the ill-fated flight. Rossellini gave a glowing performance.
Rosie Perez's performance as the distraught woman who lost her young son in the crash was incredible. Unlike some people in this world, I do like Perez (thick Spanish accent and all). What really impressed me was how she captured the depth of losing her child. There have been some films & TV movies that have captured the effects of a family losing a spouse or adult child. There haven't been as many to deal with the loss of a child as well as "Fearless" did. Perez hasn't had a role with this much depth in a long time. I was pleasantly surprised when she received an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress, the movie's only nomination.
The unrequited bond between Bridges' and Perez's characters was fascinating to watch. They survived something that their love ones will never understand. In the end, the two need to understand that despite their losses, they are still alive in this world and somehow they need to find a way to get back to reality.
Screenwriter Rafael Yglesias, who wrote the novel, captured the complexity of crash survivors almost flawlessly. One weak link: John Turturro had the thankless job of playing the underwritten role of the psychiatrist.
When a film like "Fearless" even inspires a music video (Brian McKnight's "Back At One"), then you know that this movie will have a lasting effect and with cable, VHS & DVD, it'll never be forgotten. I certainly haven't forgotten it.
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