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At First Sight (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  15 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 10,806 users   Metascore: 40/100
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A blind man has an operation to regain his sight at the urging of his girlfriend and must deal with the changes to his life.



(story) (as Oliver Sacks M.D.) , (screenplay)
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A driven Manhattan architect, Amy, relaxes at a resort and falls for the masseur, Virgil, blind since age 3 and assisted by his spinster sister. He helps Amy hear and sense the world, giving her new spirit and a burst of creativity. Over the sister's objections, Amy takes Virgil to New York for new, radical surgery. He regains his sight. He's disoriented and must learn to process these new images. Finding his place in a seeing world strains his relation with Amy; his absent father wants to connect with him now that he can see; then, retinal disease threatens to undo the surgery. Can love survive, will he find his new place and his old tranquillity, can Amy accommodate limits? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only Love Can Bring You To Your Senses. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for scenes involving sexuality and nudity, and for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sight Unseen  »

Box Office


$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$8,444,321 (USA) (15 January 1999)


ESP 109,523,700 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Cast member Drena De Niro is the daughter of Robert De Niro, who also played a fictionalized patient of Oliver Sachs in Awakenings (1990). See more »


Just before Virgil leaves, he puts Amy's arm behind her back, but in the shot of him going out, it is at her side. See more »


Virgil: She smelled like cinnamon and nutmeg.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the start of the closing credits: Inspired by Dr. Oliver Sacks' true account of the experiences of Shirl and Barbara Jennings They are now married and living in Atlanta, Georgia Barbara continues to sculpt and although Shirl never regained his vision, he now paints pictures of his brief adventure in sight See more »


Referenced in Friends: The One with Rachel's Big Kiss (2001) See more »


Written by Henri Belolo, Jacques Morali and Victor Willis
Performed by The Village People (as Village People)
Courtesy of Scorpio Music and Mercury Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Music
See more »

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User Reviews

18 September 2000 | by (BC, Canada) – See all my reviews

A very interesting subject, but not done as well as I'd hoped. I thought the beginning of the movie was quite well done, but then it seemed to suddenly jump. I felt like it skipped a step. All of a sudden Sorvino and Kilmer's characters are in love. The movie plodded along a bit more, and I felt like we'd NEVER see him have the operation to get his sight.

During the operation there are boring scenes, which go on much too long between Sorvino and the sister. AFTER the operation, it begins to get interesting again.

BUT, BUT, BUT... they don't spend enough time on the interesting stuff. The movie skims over everything. The romance is going stale, he's learning to see, and there's that absurd father story-line, but none of the story-lines are fully developed. And the ending was the slowest part of the movie.

Peeve - Why did he get a new dog, and leave behind his beautiful yellow lab????

Quite disappointing.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Amy, am i the only one that found her so unlikeable? MyNameIswha
val kilmer... MDSR
Val seemed to dumb down the character, you think? Abe_Phroman
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