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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Sympathy for Delicious
Directed by Mark Ruffalo
Maya Home Entertainment 04/11 DVD/VHS Feature Film
R - for pervasive language, some drug content, nudity

God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. This seems to be especially true in regard to healers. Miracles cannot be summoned by command and are not explainable by reason alone. Polls reveal that 83 % of the American public believes in miracles. That is why they flock to weeping statues, evangelical tent healing services, or discoveries of the face of Christ in strange places. But perhaps the mystic poet Rumi put it best: "Mysteries are not to be solved. The eye goes blind when it only wants to see why."

In his debut film as a director, actor Mark Ruffalo takes on the complicated challenge of probing the experiences of a reluctant and thoroughly secular disabled man who suddenly discovers that he has the power to heal people. His life is upended, and he is set off in a new direction.

A turntable dj named Delicious (Christopher Thornton) is in a wheelchair after losing his legs due to an motorcycle accident. Down on his luck, he finds himself homeless, forced to sleep in his car. Father Joe (Mark Ruffalo), who has dedicated his energy to feeding the growing population of homeless on Skid Row, wants wants to help Delicious but this proud and angry young man is reluctant to accept charity. While attending the healing service of a fundamentalist preacher, Delicious is singled out from among the worshippers. Afterwards, his touch heals a street buddy of his gout and Alzheimer's.

Word spreads and suddenly there are hundreds of people seeking Delicious's help. Father Joe, who is astonished at what he sees, becomes the overseer of his healing work. But when the unbeliever realizes that the priest is paying him a pittance and is arranging a special session for a wealthy father who is willing to pay $250,000 to have his daughter healed, Delicious decides to take another path into the future. He re-enters the Los Angeles music scene, signs a contract with an aggressive manager (Laura Linney) who knows how to make the most out of his healing touch, and decides to tour with a heavy metal band led by The Stain (Orlando Bloom). All this is made possible by one of the band's members, a loopy and drug-addicted young woman named Ariel (Juliette Lewis).

The spiritual journey of Delicious takes him from Skid Row to mega-buck success as a member of a popular band with a gimmick that works. The drama written by Christopher Thornton shows the exploitation of the gift of healing by both the priest and the band. Eventually, Delicious gets the chance to turn his life around once again, only this time it involves a selfless act of compassion. Seeing this film, we understand that God's grace and healing powers can work miracles in and through any person — believer or nonbeliever, saint or secularist.


Special features on the DVD include a behind-the-story featurette; an audio commentary with director Mark Ruffalo, and actors Christopher Thornton and Orlando Bloom; and the theatrical trailer.

 

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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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