After she discovers that her boyfriend has betrayed her, Hilary O'Neil is looking for a new start and a new job. She begins to work as a private nurse for a young man suffering from blood cancer. Slowly, they fall in love, but they always know their love cannot last because he is destined to die.Written by
Harald Mayr <email@example.com>
To put it simply, the opening third of this film is intense. Quite intense. Campbell Scott's Vincent is a tortured young man who only wants to live enough to prepare himself for death. Julia Roberts' Hillary is essentially her Vivian from Pretty Woman (I hope everyone who sees this film is as unimpressed as I was with the shameless allusion to Pretty Woman when Hillary steps off the bus in -- gasp -- a red suit), but it suits the film well. But the passionate acting from Roberts, yes, but mostly Scott absolutely rends one's heart. When Hillary declares that she thought "this guy was going to die," the audience is right there with her. Scott's performance is so rare and so special during these opening minutes because he is not self-pitying. He is aware of his disease, and he's trying to fight it. He's beyond emotional pain, and as he struggles through the physical pain, we start to feel it too. By the time Victor announces that his treatment is finished and he's ready for a vacation, the audience is ready for one too--it's really too much to watch a character we're instantly so attracted to come so close to death so many times.
However, with the change of scenery comes a change of momentum. This is not surprising considering how emotional the opening third of the movie is--I'm not sure any movie could sustain that degree of intensity for the length of a feature film. Sadly though, the couple's time in the beach house becomes, as one critic put it, a kind of music video which features long shots of "endearing" moments between the two main characters. I would have liked to see more *real* discussions, interactions, etc. between the two than the endless close-ups of their pretty faces. The townsfolk are superfluous--essentially they're stock characters, cut-outs of real people that serve no real purpose in the film. Vincent D'Onofrio's Gordon is the most confusing character of all. He seems to have some sort of flirtation with Hillary, but this is never developed, explained, or resolved. A shame, as it could have added more drama to a section of the film that was sorely lacking in any sort of dramatic effect.
The ending of the movie isn't bad, but it never quite recovers the momentum of the earlier section. However, I find that no matter how much I dislike the middle part of the film, I keep thinking about the film as a whole, and really really liking it. If you're prone to it, this film will probably make you cry. If you're not interested in tears, it's still worth watching because at the very least it will make you appreciate how lucky you are to not be going through what Vincent goes through--not having to make the decisions or sacrifices he makes each day.
I recommend watching it at least once and forming your own opinion.
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