At First Sight (1999)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  15 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 10,875 users   Metascore: 40/100
Reviews: 105 user | 55 critic | 21 from

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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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margo Winkler ...
Brett Robbins ...
Jack Falk (as Willie Carpenter)
Charles Winkler ...
Kelly Chapman ...
Susan (as Kelly Chapman Meyer)


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


Science gave him sight. She gave him vision. 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?


There have been several references to Val Kilmer in the hit sitcom Friends (1994) with the most notable being when Ross rented Val Kilmer's jacket that he wore to the 'At First Sight' premiere. See more »


While walking downtown, Virgil is holding Amy's arm, and when the camera switches angles, she is holding his arm. A second later, he is holding her arm again. See more »


Ethan: Are you blind?
Virgil: Yeah.
Ethan: Cool, see ya.
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 »


References My Fair Lady (1964) See more »


Easy Come Easy Go
Written by Johnny Green and Edward Heyman
Produced by Joel Moss
Performed by Diana Krall
Diana Krall appears courtesy of Impulse/GRP Records
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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