Hysterical Blindness Reviews
Then I sat down to watch it, and it became painfully clear why I haven't seen it. It was bad. The story is three woman, a mother and daughter and her best friend, looking for love in all the wrong places. Staple chick flick story, with nothing to offer the watcher, except boredom.
I have always loved all three of these actresses. I think they are brilliant and beautiful. But this film was an ugly call. They brought nothing to the table and seemed to flail miserably. I did identify with the characters and even found myself feeling bad for them, but the story was so drab, that my compassion soon went out the window. Plus, the ending was horrible. It left nothing tied up and just seemed to stop.
Hysterical Blindness gets one star simply for my respect for these wonderful actresses. It gets another star because I am a sucker for the 80s and I got a kick out of the 80s hair and clothes in this film. That's it.
If I had had some paint to watch dry, it might have been more thrilling then this movie...
Thurman is Debby Miller, a thirty-ish, '80s bound, New Jersey bred, lonely heart in the process of sinking into the suppressed life of an old maid. She's desperate for love - she and her best friend, single mom Beth (Juliette Lewis), parade around seedy bars looking for potential suitors like a second job - but as her low self-confidence is more up front than her immense good looks, she turns most men off, finding herself in a plight of one-night-stands instead of meaningful relationships. She's torn between continuing her search for Mr. Right and completely giving up; she still lives with her mother (Gena Rowlands), and still holds onto a low-paying job she most likely got in her early twenties. Eventually, Debby finds a possible mate in Rick (Justin Chambers), a seemingly nice guy she met during one of her late-night escapades.
The hysterical blindness of the title derives from a condition that causes its victim to temporary become visually impaired after a long period of unresolved stress. Debby, so mind-numbingly obsessed with her lack of a love life, experiences the bizarre phenomenon, twice in the film (once in the beginning, to develop her as a neurotic leading lady, and once toward the conclusion, as a dramatic high point that begs her to consider what the hell she's doing with her life).
Directed by Mira Nair, "Hysterical Blindness" is a drama frustrating in its inability to stay earnest throughout its length. Most of the film is moving, well-acted, but Nair, against good judgment, feels the need to include "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" repeatedly in the soundtrack as if to make the impression that we're watching a sappy woman's world drama more spurious than sincere, to render Debby and Beth as stereotypically New Jersey as possible to make their desperation even more desperate. Thurman and Lewis are so broadly drawn that it's a relief that they stir our emotions during their more dramatic scenes - there, the acting school vulgarity disappears and we finally feel like we understand these women.
It's irritating that "Hysterical Blindness" is so regularly prodded by fakery, because, at its realest, most truthful, it momentarily turns into a movie rich in its passion. It's at its best when focusing on the relationship between Virginia (Rowlands) and her new boyfriend, Nick (Ben Gazzara). Both in their sixties, both numbed and used to their discontent, the love they find together is unexpected and exciting; Rowlands and Gazzara, in a mini Cassavetes reunion, are deeply touching. The side-plot makes for a good contrast between that of Debby and Beth - they would do anything to have a meaningful romance, and while they wander around various taverns, Virginia, who has been a waitress the majority of her adult life, simple finds someone by being herself. The scenes between Rowlands and Thurman are palpably wistful, their mother-daughter bond so thick that it's less of a familial pairing and more of a friends-forever partnership that guarantees the other that when the going gets rough, sticking together will hardly be an action in question.
"Hysterical Blindness" is mostly a mixed bag, a sometimes poignant, sometimes obviously calculated comedy-drama that hits home at its best moments but feels like leftovers from an actor's previous vie for an Oscar nomination that didn't quite make it at its worst. But the cast does well with the uneven material, especially Rowlands, making "Hysterical Blindness" decent enough to make even the most cynical of viewers take a look at the world around them and wonder just how many people live to love, throwing their happiness away when they can't quite find it.
[font=Tahoma]A definite chick flick but if you're a die-hard Uma fan you might want to see this. A totally different role for her so I give her alot of credit for doing it. A story about wanting someone in your life so bad that you'd do just about anything even if it meant debasing yourself. Also a story about being burned so bad that you're afraid to love again. Its about realizing how low you are willing to go just to make someone love you and finally realizing that you're better than that. Its about taking a chance on love late in life or when you thought that part of your life was over, and getting all your hopes up only to have it ripped away from you and dealing with the unfairness of it. The movie was somewhat disturbing at times because I can remember the 80's and big hair and cruising bars and seeing how desperate woman could be just because they couldn't live without a man in their lives. It touched a few raw nerves for me but overall you felt sympathetic to the characters. I felt like the film could have been better because it felt quite undone at the end. I wanted a different ending or maybe I just wanted them to be happier with what they had. Either way, like I said, if you're a Uma, Juliette, or Gena Rowlands fan then you will enjoy this movie. It was all fine acting for the time it represents and I felt they all gave it justice and it is a chance to see Uma in a very different role. Enjoy.[/font]