I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…


Monday, September 19, 2011

The English Patient, 1996










Rated R

This was the first time I’ve seen this film, and I still don’t know how I feel about it (four days later). Juliette Binoche (who strangely looks like Julia Roberts in this movie) and Ralph Fiennes (who I couldn’t help but think was really Lord Voldemort- he even sounds like him!) star in this Oscar-winning romantic drama based on a British novel about a French-Canadian nurse who cares for a dying man gunned down from his plane over the African dessert during World War II. He is badly burned and guessed to be English, even though he’s really a Hungarian count (therefore, he’s the “English patient”). He is a mysterious man who recounts his story of the past decade, revealing in flashbacks his tragically-doomed relationship with a married woman whose husband joins his team of desert explorers.

At first, I questioned Hana’s character (Binoche) for basically forgoing her nursing duties in the army to take care of one dying patient. Actually, so did Almasy (Fiennes). Her excuse was that the war was over and he couldn’t continue to be repeatedly transported in his condition. But still, I would have assumed a nurse would’ve wanted to try to help as many wounded soldiers or civilians as she could. She ends up starring in her own love story within this love story as she falls in love with a bombs specialist played by Naveen Andrews from the TV show “Lost”.

I have mixed feelings about the main love interests (Almasy and Katharine, played by Kristin Scott Thomas). There seemed to be some chemistry between them, but throughout most of it, I wasn’t really convinced that she was madly in love with him, or he with her for that matter. It is eventually and obviously apparent that there was lust, but the verdict was out for me regarding love. I guess because of that, I never really rooted for them as a couple. And probably because I don’t think adultery is romantic.

The ending was emotional and tension-inducing. I had to grab a couple of tissues in order to still make out what was happening on screen. Even though you know how it ends (because the opening scene is also one of the last scenes), you don’t know HOW it will end. Almasy’s devotion to Katharine is intense and I became convinced they loved each other. I only wish it didn’t have to involve sneaking around. Keep in mind, this film is rated R; there is nudity, (which I don’t think is needed in a film), in addition to a couple of sexual scenes.  

The film is very artfully and artistically done fully deserving its award for Best Cinematography. Many scenes could be paused and admired for its beauty and contrasts. One in particular is mentioned below as my favorite scene.

“The English Patient” won nine of its twelve nominations. It was up against “Fargo”, “Jerry Maguire”, “Secret and Lies”, and “Shine”. The first two other nominated films are obviously very popular…. and I can’t recall if audiences felt its win was an upset. This year was dubbed “Year of the Independents” because four out of the five nominated films came from independent studios, and four were low-budget films. (Ironically, the following year was the opposite with the big-studio, big-budget film “Titanic” sweeping the awards.)

FAVORITE SCENE:

Katharine is badly injured in a plane crash and Almasy carries her a long distance in order to find shelter in a cave. The landscape of desert cliffs is stunning against their solitary figures but what is even more beautiful is the thin white parachute that Katharine is wrapped in billowing out behind them in the wind. There was no screen shot that caught this wide angle online, so I got the best two I could find. (I must say, Fiennes does look quite dashing and debonair in this film.)


LESSONS LEARNED:

If you are determined enough, you will find the will power.

Don’t live a lie.

Have compassion for others.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for saying adultery is not romantic. I agree. It ruins love stories for me.

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  2. I love this blog! :) I look forward to it every time you post the link on fb. I have randomly watched some of these movies over the years out of curiosity. It's nice to hear another's point of view.

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