6.0/10
12,889
104 user 59 critic

At First Sight (1999)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | 15 January 1999 (USA)
A blind man has an operation to regain his sight at the urging of his girlfriend and must deal with the changes to his life.

Director:

Irwin Winkler

Writers:

Oliver Sacks (story "To See and Not See") (as Oliver Sacks M.D.), Steve Levitt (screenplay)

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Virgil Adamson
Mira Sorvino ... Amy Benic
Kelly McGillis ... Jennie Adamson
Steven Weber ... Duncan Allanbrook
Bruce Davison ... Dr. Charles Aaron
Nathan Lane ... Phil Webster
Ken Howard ... Virgil's Father
Laura Kirk ... Betsy Ernst
Margo Winkler ... Nancy Bender
Diana Krall ... Singer
Brett Robbins Brett Robbins ... Ethan
Willie C. Carpenter ... Jack Falk (as Willie Carpenter)
Charles Winkler Charles Winkler ... Health Instructor
Drena De Niro ... Caroline
Kelly Chapman Kelly Chapman ... Susan (as Kelly Chapman Meyer)
Edit

Storyline

First Sight is true to the title from start to finish. Val Kilmer skates in the dark appears FIRST to Mira Sorvino car headlights driving lost searching for her retreat spa motel. Kilmers FIRST visual memory links him coincidently to his last. This is a true love drama with Nathan Lane providing laughs counseling visual therapy. All stars emotional vulnerability teach the audience learning love matters in art, architecture, education, parenting, massage and trees. Written by Larry Auburn

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only Love Can Bring You To Your Senses. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for scenes involving sexuality and nudity, and for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Virgil (Val Kilmer) says he is blind as a bat. He played Batman a few years before this one. See more »

Goofs

When the doctors were operating on Virgil's eyes, you see his right eye closed as if he were sleeping normally. If they hadn't already operated on it, it would have been taped shut. If they had operated on it, it would have been covered with gauze which would be taped on his face. See more »

Quotes

Virgil: Great. I'm blind and you're deaf. What a perfect pair.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the start of the closing credits: Inspired by Dr. Oliver Sacks' true account of the experiences of Shirl and Barbara Jennings They are now married and living in Atlanta, Georgia Barbara continues to sculpt and although Shirl never regained his vision, he now paints pictures of his brief adventure in sight See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Nip/Tuck: Trudy Nye (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

They Can't Take That Away from Me
from the film "Shall We Dance" (1937)
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Performed by Diana Krall
Courtesy of GRP Records
Under license from Universal Music Special Markets
See more »

User Reviews

 
Loved it!
13 May 2004 | by Lady XSee all my reviews

I've been a nurse for 20 years, and have been around many patients who must contend daily with what "normal" people would consider to be adversities and handicaps. I've always looked upon them with (1) great admiration for their personal strength and determination, and (2) a pervading sense of sorrow and an aching heart, for their "misfortune" in having been denied the opportunity to interact in the world with the benefit of an intact, healthy body.

This movie really struck an emotional chord with me, and made me realize how my feelings for these `unfortunates' could be construed as condescending and insensitive. I've often wished that I had the power to "heal" the handicapped, or to make them whole and "normal." The idea that they could feel totally satisfied, complete, and happy, despite their limitations -- and that it is presumptuous of us to think otherwise -- was intelligently brought to light in this screenplay.

This film is based upon a true story of a man who had come to terms with his blindness, and who, instead of wallowing in bitterness and self-pity, had learned to use his remaining senses of hearing, touch, smell, and taste -- along with a delightful sense of humor -- to become a happy, positive, and resourceful human being, with a keen sensitivity toward -- and appreciation of -- the world and the people around him. This is very much like handicapped patients I have cared for through the years, who left me in wonder at their strikingly positive attitudes and warmth toward humanity, despite the obstacles they face on a daily basis.

One of the reasons that I enjoy Val Kilmer's performances so much, is that he has the uncanny ability to capture the subtlest nuances of the characters he is portraying, whether it's Virgil, Doc Holliday, Jim Morrison, etc., and then is willing to bare his soul to bring the role to fruition for public enjoyment/critique. It's a risky, daring, thing to do -- and I applaud him for his courage! I appreciate the effort he makes to hone his performances by extensively researching the people and situations he is contracted to portray, instead of just showing up on the set, spewing his lines, picking up the paycheck, and moving on. His portrayal of a blind man was COMPLETELY believable, and I forgot for two hours that he was a sighted actor playing a part. One reviewer criticized him for smiling too much when his character interacted with people. I have to ask whether that person has ever watched Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles or Jose Feliciano, while they are interacting in social situations. Kilmer nailed this part, and beautifully expressed the gamut of emotions experienced by Virgil in the transformations that took place in his life.

Other issues that have been mentioned by reviewers: (1) -- A supposed `lack of chemistry' between Kilmer and Sorvino – I have to wonder if we were watching the same film! (2) -- Yes -- as a warning to households with young children -- there is nudity, but their intimate scenes were enacted beautifully, with sensitivity and tenderness; there was nothing raunchy or sensationalistic about them. However, some might take offense at the scene in the strip club – it wasn't essential to the plot development, and could have been omitted. (3) -- The only `bad language' in the film were rare, scattered expletives, which conveyed the understandable frustration of the main character when he was confronted with overwhelming emotions and tribulations, and (4) – the scene of confrontation between Virgil and his father, which some people thought unnecessary, but which I felt was very appropriate, since their relationship and the father's abandonment of the family had been such traumatic, devastating events in Virgil's life.

This film is an emotional roller-coaster ride, but WELL worth the trip – LOVED it! :o)

P.S. – If you haven't seen Kilmer as Doc Holliday in `Tombstone,' RUN, don't walk, to your nearest video store, and grab the Vista Series DVD – it's absolutely one of the best performances EVER recorded on film! The Academy must have slept through 1993!!!!


64 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 104 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sight Unseen See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$60,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,444,321, 18 January 1999

Gross USA:

$22,365,133

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,365,133
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed