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Molly McKay is a profoundly autistic twenty-something woman who has lived in an institution from a young age following her parents' death in a car accident. When the institution must close due to budget cuts, Molly is left in the charge of her neurotypical, older brother, Buck McKay, an advertising executive and perennial bachelor. Molly, who verbalizes very little and is obsessed with lining up her shoes in neat rows, throws Buck's life into a tailspin as she runs off her nurses and barges naked into a meeting at Buck's agency. When Buck consults Molly's (beautiful) neurologist, Susan Brookes, Dr. Brookes suggests an experimental surgery in which healthy brain cells are harvested from a donor and implanted into Molly's brain. While Buck initially balks at the suggestion, he finally consents to the surgery and Molly makes a miraculous "recovery" from her autism when she begins to speak fluidly and to interact with her brother, caretakers, and the world, in general. Buck begins taking ... Written by
This is a touching, bittersweet and wonderful film about an autistic woman who gains full use of her cognitive reasoning through an experimental procedure. Molly (Elizabeth Shue) is a 28 year old autistic who has been institutionalized much of her life. When the institution closes, she is left in the care of her self absorbed brother Buck (Aaron Eckhart). She is recommended for a new experimental procedure which transforms her into a normal young woman. As the story unfolds we see her grow from a child into a woman with many sweet and funny moments resulting from Molly's view of the world through childlike eyes. As her relationship with her brother grows, his transformation is as dramatic as hers.
The film was charmingly done with a coming of age quality about it. There were numerous comical and heart warming moments resulting from Molly's misperception of a world she is trying to make sense of.
The only thing working against this film is the fact that this ground has been retraced in so many ways that it suffers from the tendency to compare it to other films. It has elements of Flowers for Algernon', Rainman', At First Sight' and Awakenings'. It is difficult for a film to be fully appreciated when the viewer is mentally comparing it to all these other stories. That is a pity in this case because this really is a lovable story in its own right.
Elizabeth Shue gives us marvelous performance as Molly. Her portrayal of autism is realistic and endearing. She is so childlike that you really sense that she has the mind of a 3 year old. Later, as she transitions to the mind of an adult, she retains that childlike naiveté that gives the character a purity and wisdom that is fresh and free from cynicism. It was a wonderful performance that regrettably will not be seen by many since this film lives in obscurity as a single facing on the rental shelves.
I rated Molly an 8/10. On an emotional level, I really enjoyed it more than that, but I felt compelled to subtract a couple of points for lack of originality. However, if you enjoy human interest stories this one will certainly touch your heart.
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