Uma Thurman and Juliette Lewis, two of today's most sensational actresses, tackle what it was to be single in the 80's in a new movie with a terrific 80's soundtrack. It's 1987 in Bayonne, New Jersey. The bars are full and... more » smoky and Debby (Thurman) and Beth (Lewis) are out looking for a good time. Debby is searching for the kind of love they sing about in songs, the kind that lasts forever. What she can't see is that most guys are only looking for a love that lasts one night. From Mira Nair, director of Monsoon Wedding and Mississippi Masala.« less
F. Gentile | Lake Worth, Florida, United States | 09/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The performances in this movie are brilliant, but, it also gave me the creeps. I say this because it was so dead-on accurate in portraying the neighborhood I grew up in, and, the lives of "quiet desperation" that many there lived. At the time in which this movie takes place, I was working in a factory in upstate New York. The mentality displayed in this picture, of "you're born, ya work, ya party...." is how most of the people I was around at that time unquestioningly and comformingly lived their lives. I am not crazy about most actors today, but, Uma Thurman and Juliette Lewis have always been two of the few exceptions. In this made for HBO film, they immerse themselves so totally in their co-dependant characters that there is not a sign of a *star*, nor that they are performing...they simply "are" the two lost, searching souls with nowhere to go, and no way to get there if they did. The '80's were such a tacky decade, and these girls have it all "down". Watching them flounder, knowing that they want more out of life than their circumstances have thus far allowed, but not having a clue as to how to begin change, is painful to behold. As are their sad attempts at intimacy and self validation with disinterested men who want nothing more than quick sex. Watching Uma Thurman almost beg a creepy, cavalier one night stand who's just using her to "talk to me..." is heartbreaking. When she asks the bartender "what's wrong with me?", it is not a casual comment, but, a cry from the depths. Gena Rowlands is wonderful also as Thurman's waitress mom, who probably was an early training ground for her daughters bad habits, and lack of self esteem. These are not bad people, but, they want desperately to connect, and just don't know how. Also watching Thurman's character, after another night of rejection, crawl into bed with her mother in a desperate and pained reaching out for unconditional comfort, is a very emotional moment. This movie is about depressing lives, but, is ultimately hopeful, and shows that change, growth, and possibilities can sometimes begin with something as simple as a new living room set. And, the slow realization that, while we're all vulnerable, true happiness begins from within, and, with knowing thyself. I happened upon this movie by chance, and it surprisingly and completely cast its spell on me. A wonderful character study, made into something very special because of the portrayals of Uma Thurman and Juliette Lewis. Watching actors like this is almost an honor. If this sounds like a too extravagant appraisal, it is also because it is so rare. A wonderful experience."
M. I. | Old Bridge, NJ United States | 03/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was unsettling and hard to watch...I mean that in the best way. Uma Thurman in particular was so pathetic, so clueless and vulnerable....just desperate for acceptance...it was hearbreaking. Watching her character feign happiness and mold herself and her ideals to whatever man happened to be paying attention to her at the moment had me riveted. I have never been so impressed with Uma Thurman...FABULOUS STORY...watch it."
A Perfect Specimen of Fine Film-Making
FLbeachbum | Ormond Beach, Florida United States | 04/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I sought out this movie because 1) It was made by Mira Nair, and 2) I am an ex-patriot of New Jersey. After viewing the delightful "Monsoon Wedding", I have taken an interest in Ms. Nair's talent, and "Hysterical Blindness" expertly captures the character of its environs. This movie is to New Jersey what "Fargo" was to Minnesota. (Yes I know that Fargo is in North Dakota, but who wants to call a movie "Brainerd"? Or "Bayonne", for that matter?)
"Hysterical Blindness" features spot-on acting by the cast, portraying lost and lonely characters. Uma Thurman captures the high-strung and neurotic Debbie with an inspiring performance. Here is a beautiful young woman whose utter cluelessness and total inability to be spontaneous prevent her from making any sort of real connection to anyone. Some of the scenes are truly cringe-inducing, reflecting the sheer desperation of the situation.
Perhaps to the reader, this doesn't sound like "entertainment", but don't lose me yet. There is much humor in the friendship of Debbie and Beth (Juliette Lewis), and Beth's adolescent daughter. Then there is the sweet love story between Debbie's mother, a waitress, (Gena Rowlands) and one of her customers at the diner (Ben Gazzara). The couple's grace at falling in love contrasts starkly to Debbie's attempts to force it, making it all the more painful.
After viewing the movie on DVD, I immediately watched it again in the version which includes Ms. Nair's commentary, which further cemented my respect for her and that of the players of this performance. If we are honest with ourselves, it will be easy to empathize with these characters, even as we may think we are laughing at them. Don't judge this DVD by its cover; it looks like a piece of trash, when in fact Mira Nair has created another fine piece of work."
Best HBO movie I've seen since GIA
FLbeachbum | 05/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I accidentally found this movie while "channel surfing". I couldn't change the channel or stop watching. Not to mention that my two most favorite actresses were both in the movie.Uma and Juliette are absolutely brilliant! They were so "real", I could definitely identify with Uma's character. She is disturbing to watch, but her "pain" was so intense. I'll admit it...I was crying with her during some of the scenes.I am just so happy that it's been made available for everyone. In short....fantastic drama!"
I cannot believe this movie hasn't been more critiically acc
A. Woodley | New Zealand | 01/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just cannot understand how this movie didn't get critically acclaimed. It is an amazing piece. At times cringingly reminiscent of my own mistakes in my youth, but an extraodinary script and the most amazing acting story.
It is about two women, 'pushing thirty' as it says in the blurb above. The difference here is that they have never grown up into adult relationships, they are searching for something which they think is an adult relationship, but searching in the same places, the bar the have always gone to. The men are all just the same, and everything is towards a casual one night stand.
It is set in the mid 1980's, the hair is Jersey-big, the jeans skinny stretch stove pipes and the accents nasal whines. But Juliette Lewis and Uma thurmas utterly pin their characters down. They are helped along but an extraodinary script and great direction. The neediness Uma Thurman's character, at once picky and judging, the next whining and needy, and then in another moment, coquettishly naive. I am not normally a fan of Juliette Lewis but she absolutely takes this character, the lost dreamer, and makes it her own. She is almost stifled by her need to help Uma's character, and support her own daughter, that her own life becomes crushed (willingly it seems) beneath everything else.
I bought the DVD in the end because I found it so powerful and multilayered that I wanted to see it a few more times and watch the extraodinary relationships and subtle subtexts of the movie.
If you want to watch something that really show cases these talents, and yet does it without grandstanding you will enjoy this. It is very much a story of hope, and if nothing else it has a great 80's sound track!