October 1944 in war torn Italy. Hana (Juliette Binoche), a French-Canadian nurse working in a mobile army medical unit, feels like everything she loves in life dies on her. Because of the difficulty traveling and the dangers, especially as the landscape is still heavily booby-trapped with mines, Hana volunteers to stay behind at a church to care solely for a dying semi-amnesiac patient, who is badly burned and disfigured. She agrees to catch up to the rest of the unit after he dies. All the patient remembers is that he is English, and that he is married. Their solitude is disrupted with the arrival at the church of fellow Canadian David Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), part of the Intelligence Service, who is certain that he knows the patient as a man who cooperated with the Germans. Caravaggio believes that the patient's memory is largely intact, and that he is running away from his past, in part, or in its entirety. The patient does open up about his past, all surrounding his work as a ...Written by
Naveen Andrews and Kevin Whately had to learn to ride motorcycles for this movie. There was some concern that Andrews would not pass his test before filming began, but he completed his course successfully. See more »
Just after Katherine pretends to faint at the Christmas party, we see Almásy remove his red paper crown. In the next shot, as Katherine is leaving the party, Almásy removes his crown again. See more »
Disclaimer in end credits: "While a number of the characters who appear in this film are based on historical figures, and while many of the areas described - such as the Cave of Swimmers and its surrounding desert - exist and were explored in the 1930s, it is important to stress that this story is a fiction and that the portraits of the characters who appear in it are fictional, as are some of the events and journeys." See more »
It is a strangely powerful and moving experience to see "The English Patient" again after Anthony Minghella's death. Most of his body of work is dedicated to one shattering point. The endless moral struggle of those who, consciously, walk a very thin line. In "The Talented Mr Ripley" Minghella moves away from Patricia Highsmith's amoral Tom Ripley to give the murderer a conscience. In "Breaking And Entering" Minghella gives Jude Law's character the need to confess and the rewards are chillingly moving. Here, in "The English Patient", the characters in love are never too far away from their corroding feeling of guilt. Ralph Finnes and Kristin Scott Thomas are extraordinary. They strip their characters from every pretense in a compelling complicity with us, the audience. Juliette Binoche is, quite simply, spectacular and her scenes with the wonderful Naveen Andrews are filled with a "Minghellian" sensual innocence. Anthony Minghella gave us films that were,one way or another, that elusive mix of art and commerce. He was true to himself but thought about his audience. He knew how to push our buttons without betraying his own. There is something clear, honest and startling about Minghella's opus. I miss him already but I'm grateful for the reflection of his soul he left behind.
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