Dying Young (1991) Poster

(1991)

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8/10
Dying young
one_way198316 May 2008
Every time this movie comes on television, I sit in my bedroom and watch it from start to finish as if it was the first time I've seen it. It is a film that focuses on a man, Victor (Campbell) dying of leukemia and his internal struggles of wanting to be carefree and wanting total companionship from the Hillary (Roberts), the woman he hires to take care of him. Eventually, Victor wishes that he could be well so that Hillary can look at him in a different light; however, Victor cannot see pass his disease to allow anyone to be in his life including his dad and Hillary. He abruptly stops his chemotherapy to go live life and die; however, he does not seem to be living it since he so competitive and wanting to be better than anyone else. You want Victor to be cured of the disease and you want him to be less envious of the well people and to stop worrying about death and just live, which is the whole message of the film. Don't be afraid of death since we all will eventually die and no one knows exact time when death will wrapped them in his arm, which is a very powerful message. Great acting from Campbell and Julia. Great cast. Please watch this film and formulate your own opions.
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A love story which stays inside of you long after viewing.
killiam8 April 2001
Warning: Spoilers
A love story, deep and consuming. The characters stay with you, like family.

(I'm not sure what a 'spoiler' might be with a title like 'Dying Young' - so, if you don't wish to know what the movie is about . . . skip this comment!)

I've survived five different cancers since 1959. I've watched many others die from cancer, mostly because I've been treated in Veterans Hospitals since 1961 which had 'open cancer wards' of forty to sixty beds and we see all there is to see in each other's lives. I've seen this movie in real life, mine and many others' lives and families.

You will be utterly absorbed by the consummate, intricate writing of Richard Freidenberg's adaptation of the Marti Leimbach novel and the 'invisible' direction - my finest compliment - done by Joel Schumacher.

Throughout the film you'll be absorbed by the character's lives. How utterly real their pain, how complete their anguish, how deep their fear,how intense their love: both of the cancer victim Victor Geddes (Campbell Scott) and the loved ones - especially the caretaker becoming lover, Hiliary O'Neil (Julia Roberts).

If the Victor Geddes character had AIDS or Parkinson or Alzheimer's Disease? The audience and reviews would be thunderous applause; nines and tens. But: about cancer? The audience is frightened to give acclaim to cancer, the shadow disease.

The predictable audience reaction to a cancer victim story is amazing: Viewers fear contagion! In real life - friends, relatives, loved ones are frightened to death to visit a person with cancer; to 'touch' them?, to breath their air?, to be nearby?. That fear is brought to the theater, to the television and to the VCR. Fear is the Bitch Goddess of Cancer and was ever present in 'Dying Yong'!

I've never seen Julia Roberts (with whom I've been stuck since 'Pretty Woman") 'disappear into a role' as she did portraying the woman in love with a man dying with cancer. (I didn't see it in 'Erin Brockavich', at least not by comparison). Campbell Scott, playing the cancer sick Vic Geddes, is likewise consumed by the character and is invisible as an actor. There is not an actor before the camera throughout the film . . . just people about whom you Give-A-Damn; about people, not actors.

This is an amazing film.

Some might think I am biased because of my having had cancer: Perhaps. But, to see the gut wrenching under current, words which are never said, emotions programmatically withheld, denial and lies issued and ignored even though instantly recognized until there is a no longer any ability to do so was (is) the most profound treatment of catastrophic illness I've ever seen on film. I kept wanting to yell at each character to speak up, shout, get it out, say something!

(I wonder if those who have not had cancer had that same reaction.)

I hope that those who see this film will see the magnificence of its incredible love story (in spite of illness!) and feel its adroit kick in the shin rendered against the 'silence and lies' between those about whom you care when ill. This story is about love, about life, not about death.

If ever an actor deserved to be awarded an Oscar it was Julia Roberts' portrayal of a woman in love with a man dying with cancer in 'Dying Young.'

See this film: It is an incredible love story! You'll feel happy for all the characters, and, yourself.

Killiam Tierney
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6/10
Romantic tearjerker depicts heartbreak of cancer
roghache19 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This may not be classic cinema, but I found it a moving portrayal of both the suffering caused by cancer to its victims, and the grief to the loved ones who support them. Of course it's also a romantic tale of the relationship that develops between this particular patient and his caregiver.

The movie chronicles the story of a young woman, Hilary, who, following a recent betrayal by her boyfriend, takes a job as a private caregiver to a rather difficult young man, Victor, suffering from terminal blood cancer. It dramatically depicts Victor's struggles with chemotherapy (the scenes most memorable to me), and Hilary's assistance, with its ever increasing emotional involvement.

Julia Roberts brings her typical endearing qualities to the role of his nurse, who risks a broken heart by falling for a young man who is most certainly going to die soon. I've never seen Roberts in a role for which she didn't elicit viewer sympathy. Campbell Scott, son of actor George C. Scott, is also convincing as the young leukemia sufferer. My major complaint is Victor's lack of supportive family relationships (as I recall) or apparent faith. The movie could have been more meaningful if he'd had these, yet in addition, loved and needed Hilary. This scenario is dramatic, but it is unfortunate and simplistic that she is portrayed as his sole reason for living.

Get out the Kleenex, folks, for the entire movie. I liked the ambiguous ending that left the viewer able to cling to the remote prospect that Victor might miraculously survive. Its message of course is the devoted loyalty until death that Hilary offers. Some viewers have mentioned an alternate suicide ending; that would have definitely ruined the film for me.
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6/10
Beautifully sad movie that just misses the mark.
Xeresa617 July 2007
My first complaint was that Vincent D'Onofrio was totally wasted in this role, although he brought some much needed life to this role. If they had fully developed Vincent'Onofrio's character then this could have been a beautiful and powerful triangle, but they wasted most of the supporting characters.

Campbell Scott was great as the young man dying of leukemia and gave a riveting performance as a young man who had never been able to fully live his life and groping for what he considers his last chance of happiness before dying.

Campbell Scott also has the courage to be unlikeable and at times arrogant rather than a plaster saint. His inability to connect and understand the simple friendship offered by Gordon(Vincent D'Onofrio) is almost painful to watch. He envies Gordon's easy openness and zest, and is also jealous of the way that Gordon effortlessly connects to JUlia Roberts character,Hilary.

The most poignant scene is when this young man of wealth, privilege, and education tries to relate with Gordon and Hilary who are getting a kick out of answering the questions to Jeopardy. He scores big on the questions that he studied in college, but grows more and more frustrated as Hilary and Gordon bond over their ordinary knowledge of TV shows-- like their singing the theme to Gilligan's Island. They are having fun, but Vincent can only see it as a competition.

In that moment he sees a world that he has never known and probably will never really get, and he lashes out at both of them. Gordon is hurt and puzzled and Hilary is torn between anger and understanding.

I wish that they had had Julia telling Gordon about how the character of Vincent was struggling with cancer, and having all three of them interact with each other bringing more depth to their struggles-- Vincent's jealousy of watching Hilary and Gordon interacting, and Gordon reaching out in friendship to help his new friend. It also would have given Hilary more insight into her emotions, and, when she made a choice it would have had more meaning.
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Moving, Realistic, and well acted!
pheonix202919 April 2000
As someone who has seen this movie numerous times, I can honestly say that this movie isn't for those people that are looking for a "Happily ever after". This movie is as realistic as a movie about such a subject(Cancer) can be. But the best thing about this movie is the relationship that the characters have. The actors, Julia Roberts as the hired nurse and Campbell Scott as the very sick young man are excellent and believable in their rolls. If anything this movie brings out the fact that he has a short time to live, how he chooses to live his life is what this movie is about. The story ends in a way which WE the viewer choose the path we want to see it. If you want a happy ending you can say that they left together and he was cured, BUT if you are realistic and are aware of how many lives cancer takes you know that they had their time together and eventually he dies. "You don't know when you are going to die, nobody does. But we have now, so live with me Victor. Live with me--Hillary(Julia Roberts). Those words are the basis of this story, to live the time you have, live for the day. I have recommended this movie to many of my friends and I am doing so here and now. A must see.
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10/10
One word; Fantastic.
Nitaoxley081118 June 2002
I bought this video in a sale for only £2.50 and although I knew it had Julia Robert in it, I thought that maybe this was going to be another "Firehouse" which.. Well did nothing for me. I turned the video on, lied on he sofa and cried! Very few movies ever make me cry, this being one that has never failed to every time I have seen it.

Hilary O'Neil is hired as a nurse when Victor Geddes' father goes away on business. Eventually, Hilary becomes more than his nurse, she becomes, in my opinion; His reason for living. This movie is a powerful and moving story of one man's need for love and a woman's need simply for a job.

Definitely one to watch!
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What a movie?
alikaholley1 November 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I absolutely love this movie. I think it is one of the best romance films on the market. This movie can move you in so many ways. It made me laugh, it made me angry, it made me cry. I thought the end was very touching. I cried so hard. I don't know why the review says he dies because no one knows. It has an open ending and you can take from it what you want. I know everyone is allowed to have his or her opinion but to say he dies is assuming. I like to believe that he lives. He was getting better with the chemo. He could get better again. I thought this was just the best movie ever.
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9/10
Still loving this movie...Campbell Scott scene
amy05020921 June 2008
After 17 years I still love this movie. Campbell Scott was awesome. He was so intense. I love the part at the party where he is watching her from behind the candles. Then when she starts dancing with Gordon and she looks for him and spots him watching her. You can see the love and the ache, and the passion he has for her. His eyes say it all. I wish he would have been in other bigger films. He is a great actor and he played that part so well. It's weird seeing Julia that long ago. She looks different, but yet she looks the same. She was great in this movie also. I didn't want the movie to end as they walked out the door. I wanted to see more, maybe a "1 year later" thing and they have a baby. It still makes me cry every time!!!
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Julia Roberts scores again in a 4 handkerchief role
JOHN WERNER22 February 2003
Julia Roberts shows once again how she can take an ordinary script and turn it into a worthwhile flick. This is a great movie for one of those rainy afternoons when you don't mind a little tear here and there.No one in Hollywood can cry and hit you right in the gut like Julia. Along with Campbell Scott,who is dying from Leukemia, they both give believable performances and the music score is quite good.
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7/10
A film that takes off -- but forgets how to fly
Irisheyes071728 February 2007
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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Wonderful, moving film
Andreapworth28 September 2008
As many other comments have said, this is a truly moving film. I had a friend who suffered from leukemia, but she didn't make it. All the despair, hope, and courage she displayed is displayed by Campbell Scott.

And Campbell Scott - what an actor, who has never made it "big", but perhaps he doesn't want to. My favorite comment I ever read about him is this: with George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst as his parents, this guy could run the Kentucky Derby and win.

Julia Roberts, way before Erin Brockovich, shows compassion and a resilience to helping Vincent. Of course we know that she will eventually fall in love with him, as he does with her.

I like that the movie ends in a "grey" area. We are left to wonder if Vincent makes it and if Hilary stays with him. Truly a well-made film that deserved more notice.
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8/10
I liked it although I admit it's not great...
moviemagic1 February 2005
I'm giving this movie an 8 out of ten for the following reasons: I am aware that it's not great but it still has "that thing" that makes you cherish it nonetheless. Even more so, some dialogues are just flat, unbelievable, but I blame the writers, not the actors.

I enjoyed Campbell Scott's performance. If anyone reading this happens to like him, I recommend Singles and the more recent Roger Dodger. Julia Roberts is good as usual, and looks really young and beautiful too.

So, I guess it works on other levels, at least for me. Anyway, check it out.
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10/10
One of my all time favorites!
kevdoth26 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I love this movie. It rates in the top 3 of my favorite movies. I just bawl every time I watch it. It shows that love can conquer all. It can conquer drastically different backgrounds, wealth or lack of it, and seemingly different/incompatible personalities. And, most of all, that the person you need in your life and fall in love with are not always the people you imagined yourself being with originally. One thing I really like also is that you don't know if Campbell's character dies in the end or not. You just know that Julia's character is going to stand by his side. Campbell Scott and Julia Roberts do an outstanding job! And, Colleen Dewhurst, as always, does an excellent job. I just learned that Colleen Dewhurst is Campbell Scott's mother, interesting. Great acting, great story!!!
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6/10
Never outstanding, yet it works well
gcd702 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A movie that is most definitely not all it is reported to be, but "Dying Young" is still a moving film that depicts the destructive disease of cancer quite well.

Julia Roberts returns to good form in her role of an untrained aide for the terminally ill Campbell Scott, who gives a fine and most convincing performance. The plot is predictable, yes, but it remains a very well balanced drama throughout, a credit to the film's director Joel Schumacher.

Perhaps only a must see for sentimentalists and Roberts fans, "Dying Young" turns out to be quite a good film.

Saturday, April 4, 1992 - Video
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9/10
The premise for this film sounds a bit far-fetched...
MarieGabrielle17 September 2006
and when this film first came out I avoided seeing it because most people said it was silly, another star vehicle for Roberts, etc. But it really isn't. It is a good story made better by decent acting which should never be under-estimated.

While Roberts was still in her early stages. Often cast as quirky, offbeat characters, after the success of "Pretty Woman". She adds depth to the character of Hillary, a visiting nurse who ends up falling for her patient; well-portrayed by Campbell Scott.

Roberts manages to be touching, and also comedic, without using cheap old standby tactics to make the audience like her- (When I think of this, I am thinking of Goldie Hawn, same quirky smile; or Jennifer Aniston-same gestures again and again to the point where it is formulaic and unbelievable.And the audience realizes they are being manipulated.) Roberts is the sympathetic character, Scott the arrogant well-to-do patient, embittered and dying of cancer.

There is also a small cameo role with Colleen Dewhurst, and the ending is not trite and predictable. There are some beautiful scenes of the Northern California coastline. You will enjoy this film. 9/10.
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8/10
A very good movie, far superior to the similar Love Story.
kastellos31 May 2012
I guess I'm just not in the main stream. How can IMDb readers give Love Story (1970) a composite grade of 6.7 and Dying Young only 5.4. Julie Roberts is much, much better than Ali MacGraw (proof of who is the better actress is that MacGraw went literally nowhere, as she deserved, after Love Story while Roberts is still a star, an Oscar winner and a respected actress). The story line of both is somewhat predictable, but Dying Young has an infinitely better script. In Dying Young the viewer truly empathizes with the characters, while in Love Story, neither character is worth knowing. Only the most sentimental will tear up in Love Story, while Dying Young bring most to tears. While this does not mean that it is a great movie, it does mean that the characters are believable and well acted and the story line is good enough to overcome its somewhat predictable premise. Curl up with a loved one and a box of tissues. If you are at all the least bit sensitive you will like Dying Young.
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10/10
Great movie, timeless for all of us who have experienced losing someone we love so much.
lina45-305-54142529 February 2012
Hilary O'Neal was not prepared for the job she took as a caregiver to someone with leukemia, Victor Geddes. At first, she just want to have a job and a life away from a mother who did not understand why she could not stay with her cheating boyfriend. She accepted the job of a caregiver just to get over a failed affair and be out of her mother's house. Day one, she was ready to give-up, after she experienced how complicated and difficult the situation with Victor after his chemotherapy treatment. (Julia was very convincing, she was Hilary)

She however stayed out of compassion and although Victor being rich and an only child of a successful, widower lawyer, who often times was obnoxious, Hilary slowly found out there is sweetness in him. (Campbell Scott was at his best as Victor).

Victor who was eager to experience life again, away from hospital treatments, deceived Hilary that he completed his treatment, so she would go with him for what he called vacation. They drove north to Mendocino, spent time alone together and fell in love. (If you are a woman, you will fall in love with Campbell; and if you are man, you would like to be taken cared of by Julia after watching these scenes)

But without his regular chemotherapy treatment, he felt sick again after several weeks, but hid it from Hilary. Victor was competing with a local carpenter they met at a bar, Gordon, for Hilary's attention, worried that she will want Gordon instead because Gordon and Hilary have much in common. (Kudos to Director Joel Schumaker, for the subtle introduction of an "almost love triangle")

Hilary found out Victor was sick again and felt that Victor planned ending his life, instead of going back to hospital treatment. Victor didn't want to go back to a life he had for the last ten years, he wanted Hilary to stay with him until he passed. Angry and scared, Hilary left, called Victor's father, knowing he was the only one who can convince Victor to go back to treatment. So she thought. (I haven't seen Julia acted as passionately again in her other movies, as she was in this movie)

For the last time, they attended a Christmas party by a local vineyard owner who befriended them during their so called vacation. When Hilary arrived at the party with Gordon, Victor was jealous. He was determined not to go back to the hospital again, left unannounced and prepared to leave and hide again. But Hilary knew him very well by then, he followed him back to the house and begged him to stay with her and get well. It was obvious they have fallen truly in love with each other, and determined to stay together again, hopeful, they left Mendocino to face the future whatever it might be. (This part of the movie was the best I've seen)

The ending scene was inspiring, it touched your soul. It could have not ended any other way. After watching this movie in 1991, and many times again and again in the last twenty years, my mind hasn't changed - Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott have been my favorite actors the last two decades, and Dying Young my favorite movie of all times. To my regret, Hollywood don't make movies like this anymore. Thanks a lot to Sally Field.
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4/10
All heil Joel Schumacher.
MovieAddict201615 August 2006
No, not really. Of course I'm joking. I'd rather be buried alive.

To be fair, Schumacher has made some good films - "Falling Down" is great fun by any standards - but his bad far outweighs the few good projects he's worked on. His influence on a film is instantly recognizable.

"Dying Young" is one of Schumacher's sappy flicks, about a woman (Julia Roberts) who decides to nurse a dying man (Campbell Scott) who has blood cancer. Typical story - hatred for each other at first followed shortly by a deep romance, which ends in...well...I guess I shouldn't ruin it.

The movie is hokey and artificial - it struck me as one of those Hallmark Channel specials you would see on daytime television. If not for the cast it could easily be found in such a slot.

It's a curiosity simply because Schumacher fans - as in, the kind that love to hate him - may find it interesting to see him attempt a romantic weeper.
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3/10
Julia Roberts vehicle is hopelessly dry-docked...
moonspinner556 August 2006
Failed tearjerker never quite takes off, with the standard, sassy Julia Roberts characterization at the film's center. She's a directionless young woman with no future (but lots of big red hair) who takes a job as nursemaid to a leukemia patient. Will they fall in love once he's on the mend? Perhaps...but why? These two never seem to connect on a soulful level, and she's so busy being coy, being tough, and being caring that it's difficult to get a grasp on her. Director Joel Schumacher might have been in over his head: the film needs a light, sensitive touch and it's telling that the only well-directed scenes are the ones where Campbell Scott is being a jerk or when Roberts finally lashes out in anger at him near the end (the only time when she reveals something about herself that feels halfway real). It's always nice to see supporting players Ellen Burstyn, David Selby and Colleen Dewhurst, however Burstyn is terribly miscast as a half-wit who collects dolls, Selby has next to nothing to do and Dewhurst (Scott's real-life mother) has a introduction--whirling around with an electric smile--that seems as though she's destined to be the story's grande dame, its Arc Angel, when actually she's not even much of a catalyst in the goings-on. Dewhurst, like Roberts, is just decoration in "Dying Young", which is perhaps why it seldom tugs at the heart. *1/2 from ****
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10/10
my favorite movie in all times
mariemj807 November 2005
Since i was 11 years old back in 1991 this movie has been my favorite and I guess it always will be. I just wish I could have this one om DVD cause my tape is running out and are almost not watchable any more. =( I wish everyone would see this amazing film. And see what a great joy it is. Campbell Scott is a beautiful person. And I hope that one day I will be able to meet him. If anyone fells the same way I do please write it down here and tell anyone else so they don't miss this wonderful movie. Leukemia is something that I have been facinated buy ever since I saw this movie and I hope we will find a cure for it soon. Thank you everyone who made this film or my life would not be the same.
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10/10
Want to feel? Then feel this movie. Sheer Excellence!
Jessica Angel2 August 2005
Absolutely amazing, well done on this flick, sheer excellence. Julia Roberts knocks us all for a loop once again with her superior acting. Campbell Scott, brilliant performance, he will have you believing his condition. This may be a chick flick but certainly one that you will not forget. If you have the chance, add this flick to your collection, take it and run. You wont be disappointed with this film. The portrayals of both characters is superbly done. It reaches into your heart and tears it out. If you don't shed a single tear through this film, then you don't have a heart. If a film can move you its worth your time. Get the Kleenex out, you are going to need it. Don't miss this film!!
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5/10
Okay film, BAD hair!
NYCostumer22 November 2017
Certainly not a great film, but an okay one at best. However, the wig on Julia Roberts is probably one of the worst I've ever seen in a film. And if it's not a wig- yikes!!!! I find it hard to believe not one person (Producer) watched the dailies and didn't think "gotta' deal with that fake hunk of hair on the leading lady."
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not great but useful
Kirpianuscus30 April 2016
a sad story. and good performances. a triangle. a leukemia case. the desire to discover the beauty of life. touching scenes. and the predictable end. result - not a great film. but with many pieces for become one. a touching story who preserves freshness and force, seduction and bitter flavor. Julia Roberts, Campbell Scott, Vincent D'Onofrio - each does an admirable job. but the most important presence is, in a small role, Coleen Dewhurst. her character becomes key of the only real refuge against pain, death, lost and anger. sure, the links between Campbell Scott and his mother is a significant detail. but not the most important. because Estelle is that kind of character who could transform the order of a manner to discover small things. and she has a brilliant interpreter. a film who could be useful.
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8/10
Very fine
Catharina_Sweden14 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This was a positive surprise! I expected something much more naive, romantic, and over-sentimental, but it was quite realistic - but still fine and moving. I have had someone dying from me from cancer not long ago - not a lover but a very good friend - so I recognize much in the movie. My friend also came to a point, when she did no longer feel the awful side-effects of the chemo worthwhile - but instead wanted her hair back, and to live as normally as possible and only take pain relief until the end. An end which would have been inevitable anyway.

The actors are all first-class, and there are also many beautiful exteriors and interiors, party scenes, nature scenery etc.. The only thing I disliked a little, was the "My Fair Lady"-concept. I mean: the rich and well-educated man, who teaches the simple but brazen working- class girl about art-history etc. - while she teaches him about life. And then, of course, they fall in love. That felt dated, and also for 1991 - it would have been more expected in a movie from 1941...

But all in all, I find the movie well-worth watching!
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