Her son dying of cancer and her marriage falling apart, Julie flees to Poland in search of a man who can heal using his hands. Julie finds not only a magical cure for her son, but also ... See full summary »
Her son dying of cancer and her marriage falling apart, Julie flees to Poland in search of a man who can heal using his hands. Julie finds not only a magical cure for her son, but also comes across a love so pure it begins to heal the aching in her heart. Written by
"The Healer" is not an easy film, not by any stretch. It is the only drama which I've seen that keeps the same manic pace as a modern thriller. This energy brings a strange sensation to the film, a feeling of more and more happening in less and less time. For a running time of less than two hours, it's a incredibly draining story to absorb. The beginning does not give any hint to the end. What happens between is unexpected and effectively realized.
I grew up watching Agnieszka Holland's film of "The Secret Garden". Since then, I've seen two others by her ("Europa Europa" and "Olivier, Olivier"), both of which I thought were largely inept and unimpressive efforts. But there's a quality of pace and human understanding on display here that very few directors could have achieved. From the magical imagination of children to the angst and alienation of the adults, she brings together characters and performances with a uniform brilliance.
Miranda Otto has a voice of musical purity. Her personality carries the film, and could have done so alone, even if not supported so well by the other cast members. William Fichtner, Lothaire Bluteau, and Jerzy Nowak are each deeply convincing. The twins - played by Ryan Smith and Bianca Crudo, who've acted little or not at all since - are two of the most convincing depictions of children I've ever seen.
The pace is what keeps "The Healer" together. It is somewhat high-spirited, and helped along by some beautiful music by Antoni Lazarkiewicz and Jacek Petrycki's energetic photography. I was fascinated with how he captured Halifax - a city I'm quite familiar with, but did not recognize until late. This is a film that can frustrating, engaging, and fascinating often at once. You're going to be left with questions, no doubts there. But if you can accept that, you should gain from the experience.
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