The Sensation of Sight (2006) Poster

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Finally! An intelligent film with feeling and REAL depth
peter-rinaldi6 December 2009
I refuse to reveal anything about this movie because I want you to see it like I saw it, without any knowledge of what it was about. If you haven't seen this film yet, and are about to see it, I envy you.

I loved this film so much that I couldn't even speak to my girlfriend after it was over. I was overcome with emotions that no film has ever revealed in me. My girlfriend said it was probably the best film she was ever seen (!!!!). The next week after seeing it, we brought (no exaggeration) 7 friends to see it with us again. we all sat in the theater for about 15 minutes with the lights on wiping our eyes and talking about it.

I am not expecting everyone to have the same reaction I did, but a lot of these comments on this page are very oddly negative, like in a real angry way. even if it doesn't speak to you, this as a small, thoughtful, extremely well made film that doesn't deserve to be crapped on as if it was Transformers 3.

If you are someone who appreciates films with REAL depth that reward your attention, are not insulting to your intelligence and that are moving in an authentic way, then you will love this film.
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Just saw this at the Denver Film Festival
enedzel14 November 2006
I saw Sensation of Sight on Friday night at the Denver Film Festival. I thought it was a very good film with an excellent ensemble cast. The audience at the screening gave a round of applause and seemed to have a very positive reaction. The story realistically portrays a small circle of people struggling to communicate their feelings of grief and loss, although there is a nice touch of the mystical as well. The first time writer and director, Aaron Wiederspahn was there and spoke at the screening along with David Strathairn, Scott Wilson, Ian Somerhalder, Ann Cusack, Elisabeth Waterson and Joseph Mazzello. The cast unanimously spoke well of the director and their experience making the film. They all stayed at the same bed and breakfast shown in the movie and shot it in 18 days; true independent film making.
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A Mesmerizing Trip into the Soul
ksunde-14 September 2008
I saw The Sensation of Sight at Two Boots in New York last week, and I'm still thinking about it. It's a mesmerizing trip into the soul -- funny, moving, frightening and exhilarating. The viewer must be willing to be drawn in - like a marvelous puzzle or mystery, it requires audience participation to yield its treasure. And David Straithairn makes that easy. Every conceivable emotion, thought, confusion, amusement, pain - a deep portrait of man - is all there in his face. His is a phenomenal performance, but he's just the center. Spinning around him are a marvelous, amusing, touching gallery of characters and performances - male and female, old, young, and children. A whole town's soul is exorcised here, and it is beautifully shot. First rate tech.
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Numbing, stultifying, deadly dull
hhfarm-113 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Imagine that a high-school drama teacher assigns each of his class members to write a script. Rules? A small town; people with various anxieties.

Do whatever you like.

Then, bring the cast together to exchange scripts (no editing needed); then go. So you act out someone else's script and then periodically the drama teacher points to 2 of you and says "scene" - they come together and ad lib.

The Sensation of Sight isn't close to this good. It's the worst kind of semi-experimental semi-exploratory, uh, drama.

It's unwatchable.

Amazing though because the protagonist and others in the cast are decent actors.
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Sensation of Something else...
frankenbenz6 December 2008
If titles are useful indicators of what a film has in store, then The Sensation of Sight must be a very profound 134 minutes. Trouble is, first time director and writer Aaron Wiederspahn's ambitions heavily outweigh his ability to actually make a profound film. As is usually the case, wanting to be profound and actually being profound is an ocean apart and, unfortunately, TSOS is no exception.

TSOS's multiple characters all wear their angst on their sleeves and each of them stumbles through life burdened by their past, tortured in the present and bouncing off each other for the sole purpose of pulling out little bits of profundity from one another. This not so subtle device is used in excess as a means to propel the story and illuminate each enigmatic character's back story one tidbit at a time. But little of TSOS's overt melodrama feels sincere, instead it's authorial voice screams from rooftops at how deep and emotionally powerful the writer's words are. The stabs at deeper meaning are telegraphed through a series of overwrought contrivances, making it very difficult to identify with characters who do unnatural things, spew writerly dialogue and awkwardly interact with one another for the sole purpose of forwarding narrative. In many ways, TSOS is reminiscent of Paul Haggis' Crash, another heavily contrived film that will stop at nothing to prove to you how profound it is. While Crash barely manages to pull off the impossible, TSOS falls short.

Despite it's weaknesses, TSOS does possess a quiet charm, a quality that comes through in it's slow pacing, attention to minutiae and simple yet poetic photography. It also possesses an effectively minimal soundtrack punctuated with occasional injections of indie rock gems. Nevertheless, Wiederspahn's inexperience as a filmmaker seeps into TSOS and it never manages to escape the suffocating voice of its author. There's a good chance Wiederspahn has the tools and the sensitivity to mature into a uniquely talented and individual filmmaker, but unless you've got 2 plus hours to dispense on potential, you might be better off waiting for his next film.
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Like an overdose of L-Tryptophan
phucitol24 April 2009
This film was so boring it made me fall asleep, literally. I was fully aware beforehand that I was about to embark on what might be a seriously hard-core drama, which I was in the mood for. I will give it big kudos for acting, direction and cinematography. Some scenes and camera work are borderline stunning. I also found this film to be rather confusing. In the beginning it's fragmented like a psychological thriller, giving us bits and pieces of the characters lives and apparently how all are intertwined, or will be. But the extreme subtlety of the story dragged the exceptional acting through the mud, making any kind of interest or connection between the characters and viewer almost non-existent. I liken this film to watching the watercolors of a Claude Monet painting dry, you know the end result will be something visually extraordinary but the process getting there isn't engaging at all. When I woke to realize the DVD had ended, I had no desire to resume where it had left off.
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Great writing, marvelous acting, beautifully filmed. Repays repeated viewing.
gtgleeson2 May 2007
I got to see this movie for the second time at the Boston Independent Film Festival (29 April 2007) and my admiration grows. On first viewing much of my brain was occupied with figuring out what was going on and how the sub-plots related. On second viewing I got to enjoy many of the subtler aspects of the script and the performances, which are all first rate.

This is a demanding movie. It's complex, the story is revealed slowly and non-linearly, and many of the areas of personality and philosophy it explores are dark. But there's also great humor, easily understood echoes of "Our Town" and "It's A Wonderful Life", and a satisfactory resolution.

Great writing and marvelous acting, beautifully captured on film. And it definitely repays repeated viewing.
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Over indulgent piece of crap
Kate197625 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is very pretty but thats pretty much all it has going for it. The pace is so slow it's excruciating at times, a good hour could have been shaved off without losing anything.

The characters are two dimensional, and even having good actors in many roles could not save them.

The movie starts off asking why and by the end, hasn't even answered its own question. We don't know why, the characters still don't know why, but in the end it doesn't matter because magically Finn is healed of his misery. Maybe he just needed a good cry? That seems to be what the film is saying.

The other characters don't appear to be as lucky as Finn though, their problems still exist, but never mind that because the boring, flat, two dimensional Finn is okay now.

At the end all i wanted to know, was why the hell I subjected myself to that? Take my advice and use the two hours you would have spent on this to do something much more productive. Like watch paint dry.
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Pretentious claptrap...misses by a country mile...
NORDIC-22 March 2009
Like short stories, poems, and songs, films either "work" or they don't. By "work" I mean, the piece has coherence, proper pacing, narrative drive, artistic elan, sufficient seriousness, psychological and emotional depth, but also a certain clarity that can't be feigned. Sad to say, THE SENSATION OF SIGHT doesn't work, i.e., it doesn't engage, fascinate, or absorb the viewer into its world. To cite one feature among many, David Strathairn's character, Finn, is one of those inscrutably quirky characters often found in indies, i.e., a dispirited but otherwise sane and articulate high school English teacher who has taken to carting around a wagon full of Encyclopedia Britannicas that he tries to sell to local townsfolk--for reasons that remain murky. In a word, Finn is a droll walking-talking caricature, not a real person and therefore impossible to credit with a sense of reality. Ditto for most of the other denizens of this whimsical little world. Young writer-director Aaron J. Wiederspahn exhibits glimmers of film-making ability but SENSATION OF SIGHT is a film that tries too hard to be "profound" and merely ends up being tedious.
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American Cinema at its Best.
JorgePupo7 September 2008
I was able to see 'The Sensation of Sight' when it opened in New York City two weeks ago and I became immediately enraptured by its honesty. Aaron Wiederspahn's screen glows with a certain purity of heart which is exactly what makes this film so different and unique... The lighting is beautiful and the music is used very effectively... Every shot is carefully composed with great attention to detail. The subtle intimate relationships between characters with conflicting needs and how they open up to one another is what makes this film so special to me aside from being technically flawless. The performances are top notch! I highly recommend it.
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Self-indulgent and stale
Siamois8 September 2008
There are good points to this movie. The cast is rather impressive. Strathairn is one of the better indie actors out there and here, he does a good job. The rest of the cast obviously put their heart into it. Which brings me to the brightest thing about this film: Daniel Gillies. He simply shines in every single scene he is in. Kudos to him. In a stronger movie, he would have been nominated for an Oscar. The movie looks absolutely beautiful. Some of the shots are inspiring and moving.

The problem of this film is that the story Aaron J. Wiederspahn writes and direct is long, tedious and goes in circle. For instance, Scott Wilson plays a character called Tucker with aplomb, but after a while, it's just difficult to sympathize when nothing is going on but a sort of self-pity festival.

Without a doubt, the worse moment in this movie is its resolution. A long scene featuring Strathairn and Ian Somerhalder (of Lost fame, and as bad as usual) is just outrageously silly. It's probably the first time ever I didn't find Strathairn believable and the whole scene ends up being an embarrassing mess and a pathetic conclusion.

What raises this movie to a four is some beautiful shots throughout the movie and Daniel Gillies' performance. I'm glad to learn that Gillies will soon direct his first movie. Hopefully, this should allow him to shine in something other than a sub par drama.
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Exquisitely made, draws you in, subtle , nuanced
flys_buzzin_my_head25 October 2007
The previous writer does give away too much. A Sweet film that reveals more meaning with each viewing. I've seen this gem a half a dozen times and it does not disappoint with repeated viewings. Instead it rewards you with it's subtle nuanced craftsmanship and vision The ensemble cast hits on all cylinders. Straithairn is brilliant in a dark,yet somehow comic departure from some of his more stereotypical roles. Daniel Gillies is electric. There is nothing here to indicate the shoestring budget, beautifully filmed by award winning cinematographer Christophe Lansberg .First time writer / director Aaron Weidersphann brings together the whimsy of Capra, the pathos of Wes Anderson and the biting wit of Charlie Kaufman to this must see Indie delight.
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The Sensation of Sight
Ratgirl_101314 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Its a really deep movie if you miss any thing or you wont understand whats going on. Its an off beat drama about an ex school teacher Finn who goes around selling encyclopedias not the whole set but 1 book at a time, he is searching for the meaning of why after a student kills himself in front of him. it got off to a slow start I wasn't sure if I was gonna like it at first but as it went on I started to like it better by the end of the movie I loved it! Theirs a lot of twist and turns in it, each person is connected to each other in away. At first I couldn't figure out the guy that was following the Drifter around he didn't say a word and no one other than Finn could see him, it turned out he was the ghost of the Drifter dead brother. I don't want to give to much of the movie away so this better be it before I tell everything that went on and give it all away

I got to meet Ian Somerhalder after the showing in Denver
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johnwaynebosley30 November 2009
American cinema doesn't have a history of taking risks. Instead it likes to put movies out into the public like cars on an assembly line. Same car, same make. They just change up the details. What the writer/director does in TSOS is to take risks and take on some difficult issues. Instead of having the actors explain everything as we're going along, he takes the risk of allowing the film to develop on its own.

If you go to watch a film made from Hollywood you might get that "wow" effect... but what about the second, third, fourth time? Do you get more out of each time? Or do you just find the same? With TSOS it's more like a play or novel. There are enough layers that you don't completely understand the story in its full extent until you watch it over and over again. It's like strong medicine and some of the weaker critics who only like "fluff films" and "cheap entertainment experiences" won't appreciate what this film has to offer.
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billcr1229 July 2012
New Hampshire provides a picturesque setting for this indie feature, with a fine performance by David Strathairn as a grief stricken English teacher who has dropped out and is walking the town, pulling a child's wagon behind him filled with encyclopedias to sell door to door.

Along the way, he meets an odd assortment of people in this character driven drama. A single mother, a widowed father with a teen daughter, a loner, and other every day, ordinary men and women, just struggling to survive in this cold cruel world. Strathairn is Finn, the philosophical everyman, meeting these fellow travelers on his wandering journey, with books of knowledge to offer the public. The story is in the vein of some of John (The World According to Garp) Irving's work, but missing his darker, humorous aspects. Finn is a compelling figure, but the movie meanders along for over two hours, which, in the end, wore me out.
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A pleasant surprise
beonpoint18 November 2007
A very deft and competent work given the experience and budget of the production team. The script didn't seem all that easy to work with, but a fine group of actors seemed to find it's pitch and pace. Coupled with a sweet little soundtrack, it triggered a few Hal Hartley flashbacks. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The photography really was extraordinary. A very complete palette was found in some fairly mundane locations creating an effect that was at times both rich and bleak simultaneously, somewhat like a Russell Banks short story. Not that there's anything wrong with that either. Frankly there's not much wrong with this film at all and it should stand up well when viewed a few times.
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No pat answers, just very real.
cebephar31 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The opening shot thrilled me—for a rather personal reason. I recognized the scene as the one that's been fascinating my brother and me since we were kids. It's an old stone barn we used to drive past on the way to visit our grandfather.

After admiring the barn, I realized that nothing was really happening. Nothing much, anyway. I waited while the movie's dawn turned to daylight around the barn and the morning mists burned off. I began to wish I hadn't bought it.

But it gets better. We meet a man named Finn (David Strathairn) and watch as he tells his wife he's going away. Finn seems to be tortured and have a driving need to search for some sort of answer. His message is ambiguous and almost confusing--as it should be.

In another scene, two guys come together to wash cars, and they're discussing the fact that one is working and the other is not. But there are three guys there, and the third one isn't working, either. And he's wearing a suit. I wondered why. And I wondered why, in the age of the internet, Finn decides to go-to-door selling encyclopedias.

Eventually I learned that the third guy is a ghost. It's not that this is a 'paranormal' movie. It's just that Finn's burden of unresolved tragedy is as real to him as any physical presence could be. The people around him can't see the ghost—most of them, anyway. What they can see, can touch, are the encyclopedias.

Finn is not glamorous. He's not fabulous. He's not even successful or collected or sexy, at least in the classic sense. He's real. In fact, he's so real, so imperfect, so nakedly human that I relate to him. I identify. I feel.

"The Sensation of Sight" contains no pat answers. It depicts life, complete with anxieties and uncertainties. But it leaves us with a sense that we need not be its victims: we can be its participants.
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Meanings of Life
WordIron3 February 2013
I like movies about the meaning of life. Yes, they lack action, no special effects, no slick plots... just down-to-earth conversations.

It's a bit odd that Finn (David Strathairn) romps about town with encyclopedias in his little red wagon, but that's the point. The movie is slow for a reason. The images drive this movie as much as the characters. Each visual is as deep as the dialog.

The way Finn stops and wonders, the expressions on his face, his pauses in dialog... . The character of Finn would be a hard one to portray, but Strathairn provides a wonderful performance. Hats off to whoever cast him for the part.
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A real piece of art!
intet-navn-ledigt3 January 2011
Well, this is kind of an odd movie. A group of people, all in some kind of emotional turmoil, meet and as the movie evolves you find out that they all have something in common. Now, I'm not good at interpreting stuff and I'm not sure if I've got this one right. But nevertheless it has touched something deep inside me. This movie is so beautiful, depicting the chaos on the inside of supposedly normal people. It has great acting, beautiful pictures and a touching story. Finally a movie without the usual drama and love stories.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, something unique, I will recommend this movie.
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Utter Garbage - A real piece of trash
jb-3075 March 2011
You can tell simply by the negative summaries what this trash of a film is all about, how it is viewed by the public. We hate it. We want to take away the right to make any film from this writer / director, so he can never again punish us with his drivel.

Look what people write about this movie: Numbing, stultifying, deadly dull. Like an overdose of L-Tryptophan. This film was so boring it made me fall asleep. Over indulgent piece of crap. Pretentious claptrap...misses by a country mile. Self-indulgent and stale.

There is NO entertainment in this film. IF you want to be entertained, go to a real movie, almost any other movie. Do yourself a favor, save time and save money and avoid this like the plague it is.

I am truly sorry that I am forced to give this a big 1 (awful) rating, because at most it deserves a ZERO. Unfortunately for us, IMDb doesn't allow zeros or negative numbers.
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