At First Sight

Blind man finds love and a miracle — formula freshened by star shinef the cold light of January hasn't yet turned your holiday spirit to bile, you might respond to this nurturing romance. Sure, it's a chick flick, but the stars have a sweet, sexy chemistry. Virgil (Kilmer) is a masseur at a spa in upstate New York. Amy (Sorvino) is a divorced workaholic on R & R from her job as an architect in the Big Apple. She loves his hands on her body; he loves his hands being there. At first, Amy doesn't notice that Virgil is blind. Later, after a walk and a kiss in the rain, good talk and sensational sex (those hands!), she doesn't care. Enter a doctor (Bruce Davison) who restores Virgil's vision. Virgil drinks in the sight of Amy, who does a nice, slow strip for him. "So this is what beautiful looks like," he says.

Are you still with me? Complications set in. This is a true story. Well, sort of. Steve Levitt's script is loosely based on a story by neurologist Oliver Sacks (Awakenings). Sacks is even represented, in the character of Dr. Phil Webster, tartly played by Nathan Lane. It seems that Virgil has problems with perspective, with making his tactile perceptions visual. This gives director Irwin Winkler (The Net) and expert cinematographer John Seale (The English Patient) a chance to show us the world through the eyes of a man with no visual memory. A worthy effort that takes nothing away from viewers looking for an early movie valentine. At First Sight may be only loosely true, but it is thoroughly Hollywood.

From The Archives Issue 805: February 4, 1999
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