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At First Sight (1999)
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Review Date: January 17, 1999
Director: Irwin Winkler
Writer: Steve Levitt, Irwin Winkler, Rob Cowan
Producers: Irwin Winkler, Rob Cowan
Actors:
Val Kilmer
Mira Sorvino
Kelly McGillis
Plot:
Blind massage therapist falls in love with an architect from New York, and vice-versa. She discovers an alternative surgery for him that would allow him to regain his sight, which he lost at the age of one. Visual transformation complete, the duo find themselves drifting apart as the hardships of his newfound sight prove difficult. In the end, they must look within themselves to figure out what they truly want out of life.
Critique:
Effective sappy film, runs slow at first, but eventually draws you in with the solid performances by its leads, an interesting and truthful premise, and its heartfelt epilogue, which teaches us never to lose sight of what is most important to us. This is one of the few films that actually had me buying the sap that it was preaching. It's longer than it should be, but it does take the time to create a few believable characters, and develop a real relationship between two people who truly want to be with one another. It sure had me root-root-rooting for the home team! The cinematography of the film was also real sweet, with New York in the winter months always looking so fine. Add to that, the hockey references (I love hockey), a few cute one-liners, and a couple of unexpected turns, and you've got yourself one of the few recent romantic dramas to score.

The actors in this picture also made a big difference, with each one bringing their own truth to their characters. Mira Sorvino was good, and not overly tearful like the women from STEPMOM (6/10). Val Kilmer, who is incidentally getting skankier by the picture, also came through as the blind guy with the heart of gold. And guess who also makes an appearance? Remember the flight instructor from 1986's TOP GUN (7/10)? That's right, Kelly McGillis is back and she hasn't aged like the wine that is fine. She is also very good as the older sister, who essentially raised Kilmer's character from childhood. I think the relationship between the loving couple could have used a little more spice, but other than that, this film did manage to "gulp me up" during its money scenes, and in my book of colours, that's a definite sign of an effective character drama.

All in all, a nice romantic tale to enjoy with your better half, especially if you're in the doghouse, because this movie will surely bring out the appreciation of the most important aspects of your relationship. It's a tad slow and about twenty minutes too long, but it does manage to develop some rich characters, around a fascinating premise, and dash in a couple of romantic and enlightening moments all the while.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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