At First Sight (1999) Poster

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Amazing movie
Lauren-199 January 1999
I went into the theater expecting the normal amount of mushiness one can assume will be present in a love story. However, I was pleasantly surprised. At First Sight contains little sappiness, or other such material that only takes up time. Instead, the film was an honest look at one man's attempt to adjust to the "sight" world. At First Sight offered a look into the struggles Virgil Adamson faced after having sight for the first since he was 1. The film also outlined the pain of his loved ones, as they tried to help him adjust to a new environment, while facing pain and confusion themselves.

At First Sight is an emotional roller coaster. The film jumps around from rejoicing, sadness, frustration, confusion, and happiness. Yet because these are very real emotions for the characters, the audience sympathizes. The film uses these emotions artfully, without appearing to jam them down the audience's throat.

As any good movie will, At First Sight opens the audience's eyes to the people who live through these experiences. Everyday things, like what a bird is, and what an expression means at a given moment, must be explained Virgil. The lessons Virgil must learn and the way he deals with them are both amusing and sad.

This movie challenges traditional beliefs by stating that a "handicap" is a barrier. Often the real problem is trying to fix it.

If you're in the market for an excellent movie, with a solid cast, and good effects, see At First Sight.
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10/10
Loved it!
Lady X13 May 2004
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!!!!
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7/10
I believed in their love. I cared for their love. I feared for their love.
TheUnknown837-11 April 2011
I loved this movie. I adored it; I felt it was one of the more genuinely touching and real love stories that I had seen in a long, long time and even now, more than twenty-four hours since I saw it for the first, and I promise you, *not* last time, I am still haunted by its emotional power and how it drew me in with its passion. Inspired by a true story and starring a very real actor and a very real actress, "At First Sight" touched my heartstrings and yanked on them all the way through. It also contained a very humanistic touch apart from its romantic elements, one that I think everybody can appreciate in one way or another.

As the movie opens, Amy Benic (Mira Sorvino) an overworked architect is essentially booted out of her office and sent to the winter land countryside resort on a vacation by her co-workers. During her stay there, she befriends a blind therapist (Val Kilmer) with whom she begins a slowly-developing romantic bond. Despite his condition, they grow closer to each other and become passionately devoted, up to and past a surgery that they hope can restore his eyesight.

"At First Sight" is a fictionalized adaptation of Shirl and Barbara Jennings, a couple who passionately loved each other even though the former was completely blind. Their story was documented by Dr. Oliver Sacks. Adapted from his account by Steve Levitt and directed by Irwin Winkler, the movie becomes a powerfully dramatic love story that contains so much of that real-life passion from the people that inspired it.

It is easy to criticize "At First Sight" for being too conventional, too derivative of other Hollywood love stories. But I don't think this picture falls under those categories and those type of films, such as "Hope Floats." First of all, sometimes it's not about plot twists or breaking the mold. Sometimes, a movie can strike with just as much power (or more, as in this case) simply by utilizing those conventions and building upon them in a way that is fresh. And they do that here. The two central characters are very well-written, characterized as thinking, caring human beings who love and hunger for each other. A commendable move on the filmmakers' part was the casting. Instead of placing the typical romantic leads, who are more body than personality, they cast two very real performances. Gifted and good-looking as they are, Mr. Kilmer and Ms Sorvino, I've always felt, were very real. They aren't merely putting on a convincing act, they transition something very real into their performances and you can sense that. And as a defining example, I want to cite the scene in here that I usually gripe about: the sex scene. Whereas with most erotic scenes in movies, I tend to get the feeling that my time is being wasted, or that the director is losing faith in his own picture and using a cheap gimmick to stimulate my interest, I did not feel that here. There is a brief and very visceral erotic moment between Mr. Kilmer and Ms Sorvino - and I know people are going to start laughing at this point - and I did not get a negative reaction because this scene was not lustful. I wasn't thinking about the sex, I wasn't even thinking about Ms Sorvino's body. I was thinking about the passion and the love that was emanating from this scene. Here comes the one that I'm sure will get the biggest laugh yet.

I was not turned on; I was moved.

That's the core of what I loved this movie. Unlike so many of those contrived excuses of love stories that I see in so many movies, I *believed* in the love between these two characters. I was convinced they were two people who adored each other. I believed in their love, I cared for their love, I feared for their love. But what also makes the movie so good is the way the subject matter of blindness is treated. I imagine that for some, seeing or merely knowing about the subject matter of this movie can be a comforting reminder that lack of eyesight is not lack of humanity. For me, it was a reminder of just how thankful I am to not only have my eyesight, but my health. These two very authentic emotional elements stirred a great passion in me as I watched the film and kept me in play clear to the end.

Can I criticize anything in the movie? Well, yes, two short moments. One was a super-fast zoom upon Val Kilmer's eyes accompanied by a whooshing sound effect. The other was a jump cut montage of Ms Sorvino imitating emotions. These two scenes were a little out of place and seemed to be from other movies. But it's a two hour and nine minute movie and these two bits add up to, what, less than a minute? You do the math.

"At First Sight" is a wonderful movie with a strong emotional chord. Mr. Kilmer and Ms Sorvino are absolutely wonderful, as are the underrated Kelly McGillis as the jealous, troubled sister, Bruce Davison as the optimistic surgeon, Nathan Lane as the unorthodox and deliberately comical vision therapist, and Steven Weber as the lascivious fellow architect. It's an incredibly touching love story that I'm telling you, I cannot be satisfied with after just a first sight. I'm going to need at least two more before I could possibly even come close to being too familiar with this genuine little jewel of a motion picture.
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7/10
A worthwhile visit
kagaines17 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I happened to come across this movie one night on cable. I have to say I'm sorry I didn't see it in the cinema. Val Kilmer did an excellent job playing a blind man, and the struggles it entails as he adjusts from his dark world, to a seeing one, and having to adjust to loosing it all again. I could't help but get wrapped up in his struggles to adjust, the frustration he feels when he tries to adjust to the seeing world and what Amy (Mira S) expects of him as his eyes begin to fail him once again. I was surprised to see, at the end of the movie, that it was based on a true story. Hats off to Val Kilmer for job well done - he was very believable.
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9/10
Amazing, absolutely amazing!!!
tkngbdood10 August 1999
"At First Sight" is an absolutely amazing movie. I had hesitated to watch this film in the theaters cause of all the bad reviews it got from the critics and from word of mouth from other people i knew. Well, now I've learned a valuable lesson: Don't listen to what other people say. I knew I should have watched it in the theater but it's okay. I have seen it on video and nevertheless I saw it. I went into it expecting a big disappointment. But, rather than that, I fell in love with the movie. It touched me in every way. The fact that it really happened also made me feel extra emotions. This movie is a good one. I don't know what the critics were thinking. I don't know what my friends were thinking, but I guess when I look at it, us romance/drama movie buffs are a small number compared to the action/adventure movie buffs. This movie is absolutely amazing and whatever you do go see it. If you're a romance/drama movie person I'm sure you'll love it!!!
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7/10
Do we have the right to make changes for others?
sistersam28 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this film on late night TV and definitely enjoyed it. I think it will stay with me because it reminded me that sometimes I try to change people to make life better for them as I think it should be. I must be more conscious in finding out What they want before I start the process of changing. I think Virgil was much more intuitive and happy in his blindness. Although his life was a simple one, he was happy. Amy tried to make him part of her world and regaining his sight became very frightening and confusing for him, especially in New York City. He went from serenity and peace with his life to confusion and anger. Maybe it is good that he lost his sight again.
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6/10
A nice movie.
Peach-219 July 1999
The only way I can really describe At First Sight is that it is a nice film. A feel good movie, something like that, and a very beauifully shot feel good movie. The cinematography is excellent, the story on the other hand could have used some tightening. Kilmer and Sorvino kind of walk through this film on cruise control, I really enjoyed Nathan Lane's small role as a vision therapist. This is a nice movie to watch on a rainy day or with someone you love.
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6/10
In this case, seeing is not believing, 6 out of 10
filmbay21 July 2008
Between the tear-jerking excesses of two of the Christmas season's biggest movies, Patch Adams and Stepmom,you'd think that even the staunchest fans of those caring-and-sharing medical weepers would have reached their limit. But here comes At First Sight,which is not quite so life-and- death, but it's just as determined, in its modest way, to milk those tear ducts dry. In this case, though, the scientific context of the movie -- about a blind man who regains his sight with unexpected repercussions -- makes for a subject considerably more interesting than the romantic drama to which it is attached.

At First Sight is based on the writings of neurologist Oliver Sacks (the movie Awakenings was adapted from his work as well). It tells the true story of a 50-year- old blind man named Virgil who works as a YMCA masseur. On the eve of his wedding, he has cataracts removed, which allows him to see for the first time in 40 years. The experience, however, turns out to be more painful than joyful. As Sacks notes, the questions raised are profound, and have interested philosophers from John Locke to George Berkeley. Is sight a learned activity? What is the relationship between a world understood through touch and one understood through sight? The basic facts have been moulded into a trite romance that could easily fit between a pair of Harlequin covers. Unfortunately, the film glosses over the science and deliberately avoids some of the odder aspects of the original case. Virgil, on gaining his sight, also managed to pack on about 50 pounds; stress made him eat. Somehow, though, you don't expect a star of Val Kilmer's magnitude to take the Raging Bull route to character authenticity through poundage.

Instead, what we have is a story of a woman who discovers the perfect man, almost loses him, and then regains him. Mira Sorvino plays Amy Benic, a hot-shot New York architect, who heads off for a spa weekend in a charming New England village. Before she knows it, a hunky masseur has her calf muscles in his hands and has her melting like warm butter under his probing fingers. Entranced, she returns for further rubdowns until one day she approaches Mr. Magic Fingers as he's getting on a bus and discovers -- omigod! -- he's blind.

After a brief Internet search, Amy discovers that Virgil doesn't necessarily have to be blind, and she lands a top surgeon (Bruce Davison) to cure the problem. It turns out that Virgil is a bit reluctant, and his sister Jennie (Kelly McGillis) is downright hostile to the idea of improving her brother's lot. Love wins, though, and Virgil agrees to undergo the treatment. Soon, Virgil and Amy are sharing her New York apartment. But Virgil, who has accommodated himself quite well as a blind man, is now a very inadequate sighted man, who can't read or write or interpret even the most basic social signals. He's miserable trying to learn how to see again, and the relationship goes into a tailspin.

Much of the dialogue, during these dreary lovers' quarrels, focuses on blindness in love and living with one's blind spots and limitations (she has a too-symbolic chunk of unfinished sculpture she started in college). Nathan Lane pops up in the role of a wise and funny counsellor, the sort of part that usually goes to Robin Williams. "Isn't seeing wonderful," he says to Virgil, when he takes him to a strip club. "Seeing sucks," says a disconsolate Virgil. Roll over, George Berkeley, and tell John Locke the news.

Director Irwin Winkler (Night and the City)is rarely better than pedestrian in handling this story. At worst, the dramatic elements are plain clumsy.

The most interesting moments in At First Sight have nothing to do with the love story, but rise instead from Virgil's struggles with the social rules of seeing. What do facial expressions mean? How do we learn to look away from the homeless? There are a few moments that try to capture Virgil's viewpoint -- lights, glare, moving shapes -- that are as useful as anything the movie has to say about the conventions of seeing. Given the rich visual opportunities of such a topic, it seems a great waste the movie wasn't directed by someone with a more astute eye. Benjamin Miller, Filmbay Editor.
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6/10
"Awakenings" Redux
MovieAddict201627 November 2005
I saw this film on AMC and part way through it, I felt as if I had seen it before. Then I realized I was thinking of the 1990 Penny Marshall film "Awakenings," starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro.

"At First Sight" is a true story about a blind man who temporarily regains his sight, then goes blind again. "Awakenings" was about a comatose man who woke up temporarily, then slid back into a comatose.

Oh, and by the way, they're both written by the same guy.

For what it's worth, "Love At First Sight" is actually a pretty likable and overall watchable film. It's not great or anything unpredictable (how convenient - the female love interest) but Kilmer gives a remarkable performance (all considered) and there are a few moments in hte film that are a BIT out of the ordinary.

Worth watching, but don't go out of your way or anything.
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8/10
a good movie with revealing insights
T-1018 January 1999
At First Sight was a film with two stories to tell. The first was a love story and the second about a blind young man who has a chance to regain his sight. For some reason the two stories both separately compelling did not seem to mesh well--or as well as I expected. I'm not sure whether it was the writing or the directing or just me. With that said I thought the per- formances were outstanding. Ms. Sorvino, as the love interest, and Ms. McGillis, as the older sister who helped and cared for him were both good, but this was Mr. Kilmer's movie. He was EXCELLENT. He made me realize that a handicap is often more that of others than the supposedly handicapped. I suppose I knew this but Mr. Kilmer's performance brought it to conscio usness. He also portrayed well the confusion and bewilderment of entering what most people would consider the "normal" easy world of sightedness. I truly enjoyed the scenes where he displayed genuine innocence of adjusting to his new world. I don't want to be specific here. He showed great dimension to make me realize that sighted or not he was a complete person. There is much to be appreciated about this movie and everyone can learn from it. On the basis that this is a true and important story and Mr. Kilmer's performance---three plus stars.
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Disappointing
penny_joness18 September 2000
A very interesting subject, but not done as well as I'd hoped. I thought the beginning of the movie was quite well done, but then it seemed to suddenly jump. I felt like it skipped a step. All of a sudden Sorvino and Kilmer's characters are in love. The movie plodded along a bit more, and I felt like we'd NEVER see him have the operation to get his sight.

During the operation there are boring scenes, which go on much too long between Sorvino and the sister. AFTER the operation, it begins to get interesting again.

BUT, BUT, BUT... they don't spend enough time on the interesting stuff. The movie skims over everything. The romance is going stale, he's learning to see, and there's that absurd father story-line, but none of the story-lines are fully developed. And the ending was the slowest part of the movie.

Peeve - Why did he get a new dog, and leave behind his beautiful yellow lab????

Quite disappointing.
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5/10
Fine acting, but not much else
neobowler25 October 2002
This movie doesn't have a lot going for it. The story has been done and really there wasn't much interesting dialogue...almost boring. But what it does have are two very strong performances form it's stars. Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino are both at their best for this movie which is what saves it and makes it decent. I give it a 7/10.
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7/10
Only works because of the performances. *** out of ****
Movie-1224 August 1999
AT FIRST SIGHT (1999) ***

Starring: Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino, Kelly McGillis, Steven Weber, Bruce Davison, Nathan Lane Director: Irwin Winkler 124 minutes PG-13 (for sexuality and nudity, and some language) ***

By Blake French, based on comment by Lynda French and Faye Blink:

In many ways "At First Sight," is not a good movie. For instance: It does not do a good job of explaining the inspiration for the plot, the blind man's optical surgery. That is unfortunate, because I really was interested in that concept.

The film, based on a novel called "To See and Not See," is centered on a man who has gotten used to being blind. He knows his entire way around New York. He then falls in love with an architect. Her name is Amy. Virgil, the blind man, is hired by complete coincidence to be her massager. The minutes he touches her, she knows that this man is different for other men she has formed relationships with in the past.

The plot is strong, but thin at the same time. For instance, the film takes heed in developing the characters, but never the conflict, or villain, or sub-plots. If the director would have decided to focus on those things a bit more, or a lot more in that matter, the film would have been wonderful. After all, it is well written and performed.

There is a sup-plot, however, that is detailed. The filmmakers throw in a false break up between two characters, and how Vigirl deals with the misguided presence of his distant father. This incidence is only in existence to create sappy melodrama to further the movie's running time.

My main recommendation comes only from the first rate performances from Kilmer and Sorvino. Val Kilmer ("The Saint" 1997, "Heat" 1994) delivers is outstanding as the blind man. He brings to life the confusion of lack of sight. Mira Sorvino ("Mimic," 1997, "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion," 1997) plays Amy with boldness and verve. She also captures the wonder and creativity of the audience's imagination. The sub-characters including Steven Weber ("Sour Grapes" 1998, "The Shinning," 1997) Bruce Davidson and Nathan Lane ("Mousehunt" 1997) are also very suburb in their roles.

That said, this film is not all that original. Think about it for a minute: two people fall in love, who have many differences and problems. Does this sound familiar? The truth: this is just another romance story with a gimmick. The film works, but only by the skin of its performances.
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3/10
Please Don't Compare This Poorly-Acted Clunker To 'Awakenings'
ccthemovieman-127 June 2007
For some reason, perhaps a review I read prior to watching this, I thought this might be an "Awakenings"-type story, so I was enthused about watching it. Well, it's not a tenth as good as "Awakenings" and shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath as that fine film. If you read someone comparing the two films, don't believe it. One was intelligent and fascinating; one was stupid and boring.

This is just awful. It's about a blind man who temporarily regains his sight, and then loses it again. That sounds interesting but the film, in a nutshell, turned out to be nothing but a long, soap opera with an extremely irritating female lead: Mia Sorvino, as "Amy Benic." Val Kilmer's character, "Virg Anderson," might have lost his sight but Sorvino obviously had lost her brains. What a bimbo! It doesn't help she blurts out OMG every third sentence, which makes her sound even more stupid. Kilmer, meanwhile, should stick with crime movies or westerns. He's very good in those kind of films. He stinks at melodrama. This movie did not need to go over two hours, either.

In the end, it's just not a memorable story and it should have been, as "Awakenings" certainly wound up.
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7/10
Very interesting movie!
macpherr16 September 1999
Val Kilmer (The Saint) is Virgil Adamson, who lost his eyesight at a young age. Val Kilmer does a great job playing the part.This is not an easy role. I think that I read somewhere that he wore contact lenses that blocked his vision. This is a very interesting character. Virgil is a really sweet person. Amy Benic, Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite) has to take a vacation at a resort because of her job and as she drives by in the night she sees this guy playing hockey. Jennie Adamson, Kelly McGillis (Top Gun), is his sister and has taken care of him all his life. Dr. Charles Aaron, Nathan Lane (The Bird Cage), helps Virgil to cope with the temporary gain of his eyesight. The problem is that not even the doctors know much about how to help Virgil. He has no sense of depth, no sense of perspective, can not read, the world as a person who can see is very treating to Virgil. I felt during this movie that most of us do take a lot of what we are and have for granted. I am very nearsighted and cannot see in the mirror, and have to ask for help when I lose my glasses. To me contact lenses and the highlight lenses are two of the most valuable inventions of this century. Most people do not realize that I am so nearsighted because of the nice lenses in my glasses and the contacts that I wear, but without those I would really in be trouble. As an adolescent I had problems because I thought that it was ugly to wear glasses. But I had no problems with contacts at that time. I have been wearing them since I was fifteen. My contact lenses are called Toric, and have to be custom made. I could never change my eye color with those lenses because that they do not come that way. Thank GOD for the scientific advancement of this century. I could not have laser surgery because my eyes have not stop getting worse. I have a real appreciation for Virgil. What I have is nothing compared to him! The ability to see the world, the beautiful color, our loved ones, understand people's expressions on their faces. That is all wonderful, and a wonder! I was thinking how difficult it is not to see and the special effects helped to comprehend the problem even better. Amy tries so much to help, but after trying so hard as Virgil did it is difficult to have hope. He lost his sight but did not lose his heart. This is a nice movie! Moreover especially because it is a true story. I recommend this movie.

Favorite Scenes: Virgil skating with Amy. Virgil playing hockey in the middle of the night. Watching or listening to a hockey game. Amy asked Virgil: Are they losing? He said: I prefer to think that they are not winning. What a positive attitude. The cotton candies! That is awesome. Favorite Quotes: " I wanted to behold not to be whole." " I am having a bad eye day!"
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Blindness and Love ?
fabiogr7 February 1999
This movie follows two main lines: the recovery of a blind person and love at first sight. The two lines blend and interwine to form this movie. The recovery is treated beautifully: What must it feel like to recover vision but not to understand exactly what you are seeing ? How would it be to start to acquire knowledge about all things in a total different way you were used to? The "love at first sight" line is good too. Mira Sorvino is very competent within her role and the couple is very convincing. What I find amiss about this movie : Which of these two lines should the movie focus on ? It doesn't focus in any. I find the first line one to be worked into and I hoped the movie continued on the experiences of the former blinds.

For this and only this, this movie gets 7 out of 10.
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OK I suppose but just too many absurdities
widescreenguy25 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
first of all, the paramount rule of eye surgery is YOU DO ONE EYE AT A TIME AND SEE HOW IT WORKS OUT. if the surgery is successful you do the other eye if not then need to seriously reconsider waiting until medical technology gives you another crack at it on the other eye.

you don't do experimental surgery on BOTH eyes in the same operation.

also, no freakin way a responsible medical practitioner would allow glaring camera lights in the room for a patient who's going to see for the first time in 25 years!!! DIM THE LIGHTS PEOPLE !!! I wont elaborate on the other absurdities but for me there were just too many.

the good news is the performances were done well, this is a nice 'feel good' film with a so-so happy ending 'based on' a true story FWIW.

Mira Sorvino has those classic Italian features and is very very smart lady fluent in 3 languages. maybe 4. very smart.
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10/10
Awesome
doodlesjr-896-6986844 April 2018
Movies so rarely touch the heart, and this one was perfect.
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7/10
Enjoyed this movie based on truth
ddush10 July 2016
When I saw the average rating of 5. something, on this site, I thought oh well maybe I'll watch it anyway since I like Mira Sorvino and it was based on a real man's story. Also it was free on a channel I have cause it was older:), but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Not an Oscar winner or anything but very well done story about a man blind since a young child, who went through some unpleasant treatments to help him regain his sight that didn't work. Now an adult, very used to being blind, he meets a young woman whom he likes, and she likes him too. She hears about a new surgery to help him regain his vision and wants him to try it, but his sister, who has been there for him his whole life helping him survive the sighted world, objects. His father left the family early on, and hasn't been in contact with him at all! He has to adjust his life drastically, and the movie shows all the pitfalls of suddenly seeing things and not always knowing what to do.It was pretty well acted, I thought, and made me want to find out more about the real man. All in all, well worth watching.
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9/10
This is one of my favorite guilty pleasure romances.
juneebuggy19 October 2014
There I said it. I just like everything about this movie even though (if I'm honest) this time through I did find Val Kilmer's perpetual goofy grin and childlike ways kind of off putting (unsexy) On a plus this was made back when he still looked "Top Gun" good and the initial massage sequences are very sensual.

Kilmer plays Virgil Adamson a blind masseur who falls in love with one of his clients (Mira Sorvino). He goes home with her to New York and agrees to undergo a risky operation to restore his sight. The outcome however is not what anyone could have predicted and leaves him longing for his former sightless world.

Ultimately, besides being a great romance this movie made me think about "seeing" in a whole new way especially in how your brain processes vision. Kilmer does do a great job showing Virgil's struggles in that respect. Based on a true story. 12.13
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8/10
1999 was definitely THE year in movies
raulfaust24 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"At First Sight" is a beautifully made romance film about a guy who's been blind since always and falls in love with a girl that helps him finding sight. Unfortunately, it doesn't happen as planed, but has such a good story anyways.

The actors are very sensible, their conversations are so well made (congratz Steve Levitt) that leave many philosophical thoughts to the spectator. How would life be without sight? How would we imagine things we've never seen? Virgil (or Val Kilmer) has such an aggressive expression, I felt like he was about to spank someone eventually. Don't know if it was intended, but that was my impression.

So, this film is one of those rare romances that entertain and the time seems to fly, so I surely recommend this to everyone.
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9/10
a sweet old-fashioned story...
marantosvassilis16 January 2002
It may not be a very original film, but the cast is superb. Both Val Kilmer and especially Mira Sorvino are excellent. Val Kilmer is the blind man who is working in a town with his sister Kelly MacGillis, in a superb form as an actress, isolated from the real life in the big cities. Mira Sorvino is the architect, who is so tired and bored from her life, and visits the town for vacation, falls in love with the Kilmer, and tries to help him. The scenes where Kilmer is learning the meaning of life, like a small child, are small scenes of poetry, and there is a magic chemistry between the two actors, who are obviously enjoying themselves. Also another scene which is very poetic is the scene where Sorvino and Kilmer are traped in an old factory, when it starts to rain, and both explain what rain means to them. The film has the fortune to have a musical score by Mark Isham, and one excellent love song that is one of the best of the last decade. It is an old-fashioned love story, but it does not feel and does not seem old. After watching it you will feel a lot better...
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5/10
Slow-moving love story
Thalberg16 January 1999
I might have enjoyed At First Sight a lot more if it had edited down to about 100 minutes. It moved slowly, and although there were some good scenes scattered throughout, there were slow patches between them. Most of the acting was good, although whenever I see Bruce Davison in a movie looking meltingly sincere and sympathetic it makes me long for Stallone or Schwarzenegger.

I hate that phrase "chick flick" but I must admit that my wife enjoyed this film a lot.
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10/10
Love is the best guide !
Cat-15021 December 1999
I've truly enjoyed watching this movie ! "At First Sight"is a wonderful tender movie that gives a different perspective on the idea that blind people are completely helpless. Virgil Adamson is a man able to take care of himself in a controlled environment and not only. He's capable of taking chances, such as his trip to New York. My belief is that Val has displayed one of his most inspired performances and the movie is not only a wonderful romance but also a living proof of his talent. Adam existed before falling in love but only afterwards he began living. His love guided him places that sight alone wouldn't do the job. I advise everybody to "go see what they see" for themselves i don't think they'll be disappointed.
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9/10
Actually underrated
KnightMove9 February 2004
While this movie might not be what you cal a masterpiece, everything in it can be considered pretty good: A true, and also logical, touching story, realistic characters by good actors. If you compare this to a hyped movie like "Lost in Translation", you notice maybe worse and less detailed directing, but a basic difference: This movie has a PLOT. As I deem it terribly underrated, 9/10.
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