70 user 9 critic

Hysterical Blindness (2002)

TV-MA | | Drama | TV Movie 21 August 2002
Two friends lament their unhappy single lives while searching for Mr. Right in 1980s New Jersey.



(play), (teleplay)

On Disc

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby (as Anthony De Sando)
Lisa Altomare ...
Laura Cahill ...
Russell Gibson ...
Diner Customer
Jayne Haynes ...


In this bittersweet slice of working class single New Jersey life, best friends Debby and Beth (both pushing thirty) go looking for love in the wrong place - namely their favorite bar, Oliver's. Rugged contractor Rick eyes Beth but ends up going home with the more assertive Debby. Beth's style is further cramped by the responsibilities of single motherhood. As Debby tries to parlay what was essentially a casual fling into possible marriage with an indifferent Rick, her mother Virginia wonders if her affair with widower Nick is the real thing. Rounding out the romantic possibilities is Bobby, the bartender who flirts with Beth. The women clash as plans go awry, tragedy strikes, and hearts get broken. In the end, Debby, Beth, and Virginia find, if not the relationships of their dreams, peace with each other and within themselves. Written by Schleppy

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In the 80's, they said love was a battlefield...they were right.




TV-MA | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 August 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cegueira Histérica  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


During filming at the Bar exterior, a freight train rumbled right through the set, shutting down filming for several minutes and igniting a reflective light screen, which had been blown onto a light by the wind from the passing train. See more »


At about 1 hour 10 minutes during Debbie's bedroom scene a hand holding the boom can be seen in the left side of the mirror. See more »


Beth: Play anything by Zeppelin, you can't go wrong.
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.196 (2006) See more »


What You Need
Written by Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence
Performed by INXS
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User Reviews

Jersey Girls
11 April 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

Mira Nair, the talented director of this film keeps surprising us. She gets excellent acting from the different casts in all her movies. "Hysterical Blindness" is no exception. Ms. Nair working on the screen play by Laura Cahill, and based on Ms. Cahill's own stage play, takes us to a town in New Jersey, so close to Manhattan in geography, but far away in the way these people seem to be living in another planet.

Debby Miller blames her mother for whatever is wrong with her life. Her father left her when she was quite young. Her mother, Virginia, makes ends meet by working as a waitress in a local diner. Both daughter and mother have been cheated out of happiness because of the loss they have experienced. While Debby dwells on her unhappiness, Virginia seems to have adjusted quite well.

Debby is a woman that is desperate to find a man. Obviously, she is quite capable to give her best into any relationship. It's sad how she goes after the one man she should have avoided in the worst way. It will be too late before she realizes the mistake she has made.

Throughout the film, Debby and Beth, share their hopes and aspirations. While Beth is grounded, Debby is flighty, hoping for things she can't have. On the other hand, Virginia meets a nice man, Nick, at the diner. They begin a friendship that unfortunately is cut short by tragedy. All in all, the film final scenes tells us that Debby realizing her mistakes goes back to her roots and to her friendship with Beth.

The strength in the movie is the great performances Ms. Nair gets out of the four principals. Uma Thurman is good as the Debby. Gena Rowlands, as the mother, makes an appealing Virginia, who makes us care about her. Juliette Lewis, as Beth, is also endearing. Ben Gazzara makes a short, but effective contribution as Nick, the man who finds love with Virginia.

This is a film that shows Ms. Nair's talents perfectly.

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