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Dean O'Dwyer, also known as ""Delicious D," is an up-and-coming DJ on the underground music scene in Los Angeles. When a motorcycle accident leaves Dean paralyzed, he abandons his turntables for a wheelchair as his once promising career disappears before his eyes. Forced to live out of his car on skid row, Dean begins his descent into depression when he meets Father Joe Roselli, a passionate young priest. Father Joe introduces Dean to the world of faith-healing, an unlikely way for him to begin his quest to walk again. He soon discovers that he possesses the otherworldly power to heal people, but in an odd twist of fate, he is utterly unable to heal himself. Despite Father Joe's warnings, Dean angrily decides to use his newfound gift for fame and fortune. He joins a rock band led by charismatic front man The Stain with bassist Ariel, and manager Nina Hogue. But his newfound notoriety is unable to cure the hurt that encompasses his life. To find true healing, Dean must ultimately ... Written by
Do NOT watch the trailer, just see the movie. Now.
==Urgent update Jan 6, 2014. I just saw copies of this movie, brand new, for sale at the Dollar Store. Yes $1! Don't even finish reading this review, just go buy this movie. OK, back to the original review==
I thank my lucky stars I didn't see the trailer beforehand because it would've ruined the beauty of watching this creative story unfold. If you've already seen the trailer, do your best to rinse it out of your skull (it's not exactly accurate anyway).
Rather than tell you about the plot, I'm going to tell you some behind-the-scenes info which should enhance your enjoyment. "Sympathy for Delicious" took 10 years to make. It was written by its lead actor Christopher Thornton who, like the character he plays, is paralyzed from the waist down in real life due to an accident. So the passion he delivers on screen is 100% genuine, and that's why this film works. Nothing is contrived. Even the story, surreal as it is, comes directly from the heart of a man who has been through the ordeal.
His counterpart is played by director Mark Ruffalo, Thornton's longtime friend in real life. The dynamic is stellar. On screen as well as in real life, they share a sort of sibling love-hate relationship. This makes their dramatic scenes 100% authentic. When the characters get into arguments, you can feel that they've left the script behind and are emoting straight from the heart. Not since F. Murray Abraham's performance in "Amadeus" have I seen such raw, honest passion.
The film touches heavily on themes of religion, but it is neither preachy nor bashy. Devout Christians as well as Atheists should enjoy this movie just the same. Thornton plays a faithless character with a lot of understandable resentment toward God (again bringing to mind the excellent film "Amadeus"). Ruffalo plays a Catholic priest who himself has profound issues. Though polar opposites, the 2 characters are oddly parallel.
What makes this film jaw-dropping is the way the story weaves a clever parable of "the rock star & the priest". After you see the film maybe you'll agree that it's a very fitting analogy.
Juliette Lewis is perfect in her role, and her scenes with Thornton are at times funny, at times sentimental, at times powerful, and each time memorable. Orlando Bloom, though prominently featured in the promos for this film, plays a somewhat minor role. But he's still larger than life every time he graces the screen. As far as acting goes, we get Oscar-worthy performances all around.
This is not your average rock'n'roll film; it's much more. It packs a lot of philosophy and requires your full attention, so be sure to watch it with a clear head. It's so original I can't think of many films to compare it to. But it reminds me of the excellent film "Into Temptation" (about a priest who's trying to stop a prostitute's suicide) and the Mexican masterpiece "Piedras Verdes" (about a girl on a soul-searching journey thru the desert). It touches on some of the same profound themes found in "Amadeus" and "The Green Mile".
I give this film 9 stars which is about the highest I ever give a film. Honourable mention for the first & only time I've heard the line "I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL" used effectively (apologies to Arnold Schwarzenegger)!
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