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Mozart and the Whale (2005)

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A love story between two savants with Asperger's syndrome, a kind of autism, whose conditions sabotage their budding relationship.

Director:

Petter Næss

Writer:

Ronald Bass (as Ron Bass)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Hartnett ... Donald Morton
Radha Mitchell ... Isabelle Sorenson
Gary Cole ... Wallace
Sheila Kelley ... Janice
Erica Leerhsen ... Bronwin
John Carroll Lynch ... Gregory
Nate Mooney ... Roger
Rusty Schwimmer ... Gracie
Robert Wisdom ... Blume
Allen Evangelista ... Skeets
Kelly B. Eviston ... Dr. Trask (as Kelly Eviston)
Jhon Goodwin Jhon Goodwin ... Rodney
Christa Campbell ... Therapist
Jeffrey Brandle Jeffrey Brandle ... Ten-year-old Kid
Hollis Higgins Hollis Higgins ... Homeless Man
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Storyline

A dramatic-comedy, inspired by the lives of two people with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, whose emotional dysfunctions threaten to sabotage their budding romance. Donald is a good-natured but hapless taxi driver with a love of birds and a superhuman knack for numbers. Like many people with AS, he likes patterns and routines. But when the beautiful but complicated Isabel joins the autism support group he leads, his life - and his heart - are turned upside down. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They don't fit in. Except together.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and some thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 February 2006 (Turkey) See more »

Also Known As:

Mozart & the Whale See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,610, 14 April 2006, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$36,006, 11 May 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rachel Weisz was the first choice to star in the film alongside Josh Harnett. She was cast, however she had to drop out before filming started due to schedule conflicts. See more »

Goofs

In the first group scene, Donald talks about numbers as he stares at the microwave oven countdown. When the camera cuts away from the digital readout, the one/second beep of the microwave can still be heard but when the camera returns to the readout, fewer seconds elapse than beeps heard. See more »

Quotes

Isabelle Sorenson: Be my friend Donald, be my best friend, please, because I really need you. I always felt like you wanted us to get married or something.
Donald Morton: I never said that.
Isabelle Sorenson: Not with words. But instead of that, do you want to just be my friend?
Donald Morton: Without the sex?
Isabelle Sorenson: Without the pressure. My friendship is all I have to give. Do you want it?
See more »

Connections

References The Third Man (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Evergreen
Written by Michael Clarke
Performed by Clarkesville
Published by Copyright Control (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Wildstar Records
By Arrangement with Zync Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Josh Hartnett proves he can act
17 April 2011 | by deconstructingSee all my reviews

Many people have doubts about Josh Hartnett's acting abilities. He's landed some good performances in his earliest roles (The Virgin Suicides, O), but once the teenagers adopted him as the next big celebrity crush he got swallowed in the hype that led to Pearl Harbor. This destroyed any credibility he might have as an actor, and he has spent the rest of the decade trying to prove himself as a serious actor and to get rid of the hearth throb image.

He completely succeeds in this goal with Mozart and the Whale. He plays Donald, a young man with Asperger's syndrome so well, you forget it's him. The performance is rough, unpolished and honest, and while it might not be technically perfect it's evident Hartnett was very inspired and motivated. It is a very good performance, and anybody who doubts his acting abilities should watch this film before making a judgment. The only problem is: not many people saw this film. And it is a shame.

Radha Mitchell plays Isabelle, a young woman with Asperger's, and the film follows the two protagonists fall in love. Mitchell is also good in her role, but is less sympathetic; that is, until you realize what it seems like annoying, shallow girl, is actually the display of her Asperger's syndrome.

The film itself, however, is full of the problems. It tries to be a romantic comedy about an unusual couple, but it doesn't work that way. Rumor says something went wrong in the production, and due to some executive meddling the film failed to be a drama it was meant to be. Allegedly, this made Josh Hartnett mad and he chose not to promote the film, which is a shame, because it's probably his best performance to date.

Sometimes, it feels like a genuine story about people with Asperger's meeting, falling in love and having a relationship (it is based on true people and events), but at the moments it is reduced to the common denominator. You simply can't do that with a theme like this; this one doesn't work as a romantic comedy with quirky protagonists. It also feels like good 30 minutes of it is missing; it's rushed, especially in the last third.

Still, even simplified and "Hollywoodised", this film is a good watch. But it's mainly because of the main cast, particularly Hartnett. He finds his voice like never before and manages to make us believe he's an individual with Asperger's living his life, falling in love, and trying to resolve everyday problems.

At the end, the film is disappointing, but the best scenes deserve to be watched over and over again. Essentially, this film is a missed potential with some great acting.


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