At First Sight Reviews
Amy (Mira Sorvino) meets Virgil (Val Kilmer) at a holiday resort and falls in love with him. The reason she takes to him so quickly is because he is blind - he sees what is beneath the surface, and reminds Amy of the little things in life that people often either take for granted or miss completely. He re-awakens her, in a way. However, the first chance she has, she's suggesting that Virgil get corrective surgery on his eyes to restore his sight. This is where it gets tricky.
One of the things Amy loved so much about Virgil was his unique perception, completely unhindered by sight, symbolism, and constructed meaning. Yet the first thing she wanted to change about him was everything she had come to love - something she saw as a 'problem'. This didn't sit right with me in the slightest. I can't put this any better than Virgil himself did: "That's the thing, there is no damn problem!". And this is where the film sold me (or rather, where Virgil sold me).
This reminded me of something I once read in one of my Deafness & Communication lectures: There is no ability or disability. Some people are born with sight/hearing, and some people aren't. Just like some people are born blonde or with brown hair. It's just a variation of the human condition. And that is basically what this film is about - learning to accept that people are who they are, and that is what makes them unique.
I also felt there was absolutely zero on-screen chemistry between Kilmer and Sorvino - the sex scene was completely awkward, as was the scene where she demonstrates her many facial expressions to him (what should have been an endearing scene was instead rendered obnoxious and stupid). I didn't truly believe in Amy and Virgil, and found it hard to feel anything but utter contempt for Amy through the second act of the film. I didn't want to fight for either of them, and honestly would have cared less if Virgil had never met up with Amy again.
This film had a lot of potential, but I think what saved it for me was the thematic exploration of sight and what it meant to both Amy and Virgil.
A successful, beautiful, New York architect Mira Sorvino (as Amy Benic) gets a rubdown from hunky blind masseur Val Kilmer (as Virgil Adamson) who lost his eyesight at a young age and the two fall in love. Kilmer plays a very convincing blind man who's learnt to rely fully on his senses. The scene where it's about to rain is beautiful, his perception is intuitive. Kilmer undergoes treatment to recover his sight, thanks to conveniently placed doctor Bruce Davidson (as Charles Aaron). He "learns" to cope with seeing for the first time but it is very strange for him. Everyone that can see all their lives take many things for granted. Mia Sorvino and Val Kilmer give charming performances but the stand-out is for me Kelly McGillis. She portrays a generous sister who sacrificed her life to taking care of her blind brother.
It questions our emotions, sight, looks and prospective on life, people etc. It a good movie in the category of non-violent movies.
It's a cheesy story if you just look at the surface: a blind masseuse meets a woman who loves him enough to help him regain his sight by surgery, not taking into account that seeing again after a lifetime of darkness packs complications with it. I say this movie meets the requirements as a romance because it does so perfectly by making these two people meet, connect, love each other, make sacrifices and those sacrifices bring with them complications that strain their relationship and connection with each other before their love is strengthened and solidified into an unbreakable bond.
The trouble is that this romance, as I said, is based on a true story that brings to the surface a lot of abstract ideas that would've elevated the level of this movie and presented something a lot more interesting and unique than just a romance novel in movie form.
The movie just touches on the very interesting struggle a blind person can have after gaining sight, and their perception of what it is they are seeing. I never thought of it that way before, and this movie just gave me a glimpse of how regaining sight is not as simple as just opening your eyes, that it's really scary and disorienting, and I wish I would've gotten more of that from this movie that could've been so much more.