Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Wedding Gift|
Actors: Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Thora Hird, Sian Thomas, Dinah Handley
Director: Richard Loncraine
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 05/09/2006 Rating: Pg13
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Paralysis is a state of mind
Peter Shelley | Sydney, New South Wales Australia | 04/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This BBC TV is based on the true story of Deric and Diana Longden, who were faced with the debilitating symptoms of what was at the time undefined Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, with Diana a paralytic who has blackouts. The trap in dramatising this kind of tale is allowing the proceedings to get either too maudlin or too icky sweet uplifting. Adapter playwright Jack Rosenthal and director Richard Loncraine overcome this but fall into the opposing trap, by making the situations mundane and distracting the narrative with the seemingly unnecessary plight of the Longden's to be married son, and the lack of success of Deric's business. We don't so much resent the time given to Deric's doddery mother played by Thora Hird since her addle-mindness is so funny, with the reactions to her underplayed as a given. Thankfully as the Longden's, Julie Walters and particularly Jim Broadbent partially restore the balance by investing their characters with warmth and wit. Walters has the tougher role since it is her last wish for Deric to re-marry, and though she makes her Diana someone to be treasured we also see the pain and frustration of her dependence on Deric. Unlike the couple in the Jill Clayburgh Miles to Go, Diana's wish is only activated by Deric's chance meeting with Aileen (if that name wasn't based on the real person it would be unforgiveable), a writer who happens to be blind. As Diana witnesses Deric's interest in Aileen, she sees that the blindness would allow for Deric to continue his need to watch out for someone, without them being totally dependent. The arrangement isn't pushed, much like Diana's anger towards the medical profession's inability to help her. Since the disease she suffers from is unknown to them, they dismiss her as an "hysteric" which matches the medieval hand aides she is given to wear. The film's second half is definitely stronger than the first, as if we need to pause after the gothicness of Diana's encounters with hospitals and before Aileen makes her entrance, and by the conclusion we become grateful that things are left somewhat open, which nicely undercuts what could have deteriorated into tragedy and sentimental sludge."
Well worth watching.
Peter Shelley | 11/18/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Julie Walters is very good in this movie. It's a wonderful story about peoples tragedies...and how strong it can make one.....and persistent."
Masterful, Gripping, Witty
Peter Shelley | 08/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Why only two reviews?
My DVD cover calls it charming, stunning, witty and spirited, all of which are absolutely correct. "Real brilliance," says another. Yep.
Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent are absolutely phenomenal as Diana and Deric. They bring this real-life couple to life so well that all you can do is watch and marvel. Wry wit and genuine warmth. They're positively gripping.
I'm glad I didn't read the DVD jacket, by the way, for its plot spoilers, but I'm guessing you know what happens in the film, somewhat. It doesn't really matter. Some other unexpected things happen, besides which this is very much a character-based film. It had to be.
And guess what? I'm slipping it into my little "keeper" collection to watch again.