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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
At First Sight
Directed by Irwin Winkler
MGM 01/99 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 - scenes of sexuality and nudity, brief strong language
In this romantic drama directed by Irwin Winkler, Amy (Mira Sorvino) is a New York architect who works in a firm with her ex-husband Duncan (Steven Weber). On a visit to a spa in a small town, she meets and falls in love with Virgil (Val Kilmer), a masseur who is blind. He has been without sight since childhood and still bears the pain of feeling abandoned by his father (Ken Howard). For years, Virgil's protective schoolteacher sister Jennie (Kelly McGillis) has looked after him. Wanting only the best for her lover, Amy convinces him to have experimental surgery developed by Dr. Charles Aaron (Bruce Davison). Virgil's sight is miraculously restored as one of only 20 cases in the last 200 years. He is ushered into a strange, new world that is both scary and exciting. And it alters his romance with Amy in ways that neither one of them understands.
Screenplay writer Steve Levitt has adapted the story To See and Not See from the best-selling book An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. Although the film is predictably melodramatic, it does contain some salutary insights into being present, seeing with the heart, and discovering the wholeness in a love relationship when both parties let go of the need to control.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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