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Thomas Haden Church,
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
Molly is a heartwarming film that tackles the difficult subject of adult autism
Molly McKay (Elizabeth Shue, very wonderful) has been living in a nursing home for years, after her parents' deaths. She has severe autism and generally answers every question with the word "no". One senses, however, that locked inside her being is a woman as bright as she is beautiful. Her older brother, Buck (Aaron Eckhart) has only visited her on rare occasions, as he was going through college and starting his career in advertising. Word comes, however, that the nursing home is closing and that Buck will have to make new arrangements for Molly. Very apprehensive, Buck brings Molly back to his Venice, California apartment, where the chaos soon begins. When a daycare situation goes sour, Buck has to bring Molly to work, where her erratic behavior soon causes the firm to lose a major account. Buck is promptly fired, causing resentment between the siblings. However, a clinic worker, Sam (Thomas Jane) has been a friend to Molly for years and he encourages Buck to be patient and caring. Also, a doctor at the clinic (Jill Hennessey) convinces Buck to let them try a new surgical technique on Molly, one that will allow her to lead a more normal life. Amazingly, after the procedure, Molly does become more verbal and starts to catch up on some of life's moments that have eluded her. But, can it last? This is a very nice film about an important topic, autism. However, instead of focusing on children, this one shines a light on the experiences of an adult with the condition. As such, Shue is wonderful as the brave and bright Molly while Eckhart is equally fine as her confused but goodhearted brother. One must also congratulate Hennessey and especially Jane for giving great turns as well. The setting in Venice is beautiful and the other cinema niceties, such as costumes and photography, are more than adequate. The script is both lightly humorous and tear generating, at the same time, and gives the audience a good look at the autistic individual, trapped inside his or her own body. Even so, one suspects that the film, made in 1999, might be a bit dated as to current discoveries and treatments. But, that matters little, indeed, to the overall enjoyment of the flick. If you are a fan of sweet, thought-provoking stories, told with care and humor, you should make time for Molly. Good golly, you will be entertained and enlightened at the same wonderful time.
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