Hysterical Blindness - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hysterical Blindness Reviews

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½ December 16, 2016
3.5/5 - Uma was fantastic in this
May 11, 2016
reel good chick flick gr8 cast & director
February 14, 2016
Took around 25 mins to get to grips with Uma Thurmas character (quite flaky and hard to watch at first). When I did the movie got better for me. Its quite gritty actually & has that feel-good ending. The 80's music and setting was a refreshing change. Worth a watch for sure. Juilette Lewis is great!!
July 22, 2015
Seeing Uma Thurman play a genuine, sensitive woman is a strange thing for me. Everyone (including myself) knows she's a terrific actress - but as a Tarantino die-hard obsessed with "Kill Bill" (I've legitimately seen "Vol. 1" at least thirty times), I'm hardly used to her portraying a woman capable of carrying on a soul-baring conversation without cutting someone in half with a Hattori Hanz? sword. Perhaps I should see what else she's capable of before I start making assumptions - so I suppose "Hysterical Blindness", an HBO TV-movie for which she won a Golden Globe, is a good place to start.
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.
½ May 11, 2015
The terrific performances of the acting trio are almost overlooked in this bland and formulaic chick flick about girls unlucky in love. What else?
October 7, 2014
One of the most honest films I have ever seen.
April 12, 2013
Surprisingly honest. Turn it off before the awful "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" ending.
September 6, 2012
Nice performances and characters (the three lead females only). A plot that offers very little aside from disappointing cliches, but still enjoyable to watch and empathize.
July 31, 2012
Painful to watch but kept at it til the end just to see if it got better..... it didn't
July 23, 2012
This is a great movie. An ode to the 80's indefinitly!
½ May 3, 2012
i felt very connected to the story.
July 26, 2011
I thought it was quite good. Love the actors all of them and its an all too true account of how young women throw themselves at young men in their insecurity..very tough to watch because the character Uma plays is reminiscent of many vulnerable women without a firm psychological foundation in this day and age due to many reasons, socio-economic, lack of education etc..Good to see the odd movie from a woman's perspective, rather than the usual male view.
½ July 26, 2011
What a pointless movie. It's an hour and a half of a woman being desperate, trying to find a man like that's the only thing in life that matters. Yawn.
July 1, 2011
Stretches the minute nuggets of mundane realness that are the bread and butter of great short fiction to maddeningly visionless limits as a full-length film.
May 9, 2011
An normal life of an inconsequential person and the people around her...well portrayed and quite melancholy at times.....story itself is a bit thin though..makes a good character study
May 6, 2011
While it has very little plot or action, it keeps up a good pace, the characters are well mapped out and all the actors do great jobs.
May 6, 2011
Loved the idea. two white trash chicks in the mid eighties trying to make it in the bar scene, just didn't quite work for some reason..??
½ March 20, 2011
It was an ok movie...Could have been better.
March 16, 2011
just loved this movie, where can i buy it ?
½ February 21, 2011
There's a lot of uncomfortable and cringe-worthy moments in this movie, but it's realistic and interesting and the acting is great.
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