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"There are many people-- too many, in fact,-- who live their entire lives on the "outside looking in," to one degree or another, because the "normal" ones among us-- the ones who govern the great majority, or even the ones who just have a hand in formulating the criteria by which the parameters of our great "Society" are established-- deem it to be so, and have the wherewithal to effect their ends. Indeed, there are those who probably prefer an "outsider" status, rather than succumbing to the tenets of what is essentially the wide spread hypocrisy so prevalent throughout our world today. But it would be nice to at least give them that choice, which unfortunately, despite all the "politically correct" posturing that goes on and on around us daily, we do not. Yet, ironically, often it is these denizens from beyond the mainstream that so enrich our lives with their thoughts, art, and by their mere presence amongst us. "Maze," written, directed by and starring Rob Morrow, is the story of one of these: An artist, whom we discover early on is also a very caring person, who is nevertheless relegated to that outer rim because he suffers from Tourette's Syndrome. He's different; he doesn't fit in; he's an embarrassment. He's also a very accomplished artist who puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. And-- like the rest of us-- he has very basic wants and needs, all the things that give definition to what he really is: Human. Just like the rest of us.Lyle Maze (Morrow) is an established artist on the verge of a critical and financial breakthrough, but he lives a solitary existence, spending most of his time holed up in his loft, alone. He has one good friend, Mike (Craig Sheffer), but stays to himself, attempting to avoid the ridicule and embarrassment, or just the unwanted attention elicited by the uncontrollable "tics" generated by the Tourettes. Mike is a doctor and prescribes medication that may help, but Lyle fears it may stifle his creativity, as well, so he refuses to take it. it affects his work though, too, as his sudden outbursts are too disconcerting for even those with whom he must work, as when a model he has hired to pose for him walks out, unnerved by his seemingly erratic behavior.Then Mike makes a decision that ultimately becomes the catalyst for what becomes a significant emotional event in Lyle's life. Mike, following an altruistic bent, signs on with a medical group and commits himself to months of work in a third world country. It's an admirable pursuit, but to follow this particular dream, he must leave behind the woman he loves, Callie (Laura Linney). And though Mike doesn't realize it, it is a very fragile time for Callie, and for their relationship. As Mike prepares to leave, Callie, aware of Lyle's predicament with models, volunteers to pose for him. Things become complicated, however, when Lyle suddenly begins to realize that he has feelings for Callie-- feelings he should not have in light of the fact that Mike is his best (only) friend. Lyle is conscientious and sensitive to the issue, but as is always the case in matters of the heart, all bets are off. And so, to his problems with Tourettes, Lyle must now add the inner conflict and guilt born of his (as yet unexpressed) feelings for Callie, as he seeks to resolve yet another of the curves that life seems determined to throw at him.This movie marks the feature film debut of Morrow as a writer (along with Bradley White)/director, and it's one of those little gems that it's so gratifying to discover after sifting through all of the "fools gold" that Hollywood continues to pollute the stream with. Morrow successfully taps into that vein of need that runs through the human condition, places it in a proper setting, measures the finger of his audience and sizes it accordingly. And like a hand crafted item made with precision and an eye for detail, the result is a small, but invaluable treasure. Morrow (probably best known for his work in the TV series "Northern Exposure") has an acute grasp of human nature, and his insights provide the basis for a thought provoking, emotionally involving sojourn through the landscape of the human condition. Indeed, it is the humanity he finds in his characters that makes this film sing. It is a sensitive presentation devoid of any overt sentimentality that would have rendered it maudlin; with a seemingly innate sense of the emotional boundaries within which he must stay to be effective, Morrow keeps his finger on the pulse of the story, makes the necessary adjustments and keeps the heartbeat steady. And it works.As Lyle, Morrow gives an extremely affecting performance; his "tics" are done to perfection, to the point of an irritating realism that so effectively gives you that sense of what it must be like to suffer such a malady, as well as offering some real insight into how it affects those who encounter someone with Tourettes, and how difficult it can be to respond appropriately. Morrow's portrayal generates understanding and sympathy for the sufferer, while at the same time offers some vindication to those who simply cannot cope with it. As a filmmaker, Morrow is to be complimented for offering up such a sensitive subject for the consideration of his audience, doing it objectively and without passing judgment on their response.Laura Linney is terrific, too, as Callie, giving a performance that evokes the empathy of the viewer with her portrayal of a woman at an emotional crossroads in her life, who though beset with inner conflict finds the strength to overcome her troubles and decide for herself the direction her life will take. It's the kind of memorable performance which, along with Morrow's, makes "Maze" an entertaining and satisfying cinematic experience. It's the magic of the movies."
Two brothers and Laura Linney - one brother with Tourettes
K. Corn | Indianapolis,, IN United States | 06/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a stand-out for several reasons, although I'll warn you straight out that it isn't an easy film to watch much of the time.
I doubt you'll find many films which feature a person with Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This one does and that may make some viewers uncomfortable, especially as they watch this man, an artist, grappling with everyday things we all take for granted, but having great difficulty. When he goes grocery shopping, his noises and odd movements upset people. When he feels compelled to touch someone's sleeve, with no bad intentions in mind, he gets yelled at.
True, the actor doesn't really have Tourettes but he is convincing in the role. If this sounds unappealing to you, I urge you to reconsider. I found it a bit distracting at first but quickly became engaged by the story.
Secondly, the movie focuses on art and artists and how difficult it can be to make one's way in the world as an artist who also struggles with a major disorder - Tourettes.
To add complications to the plot, there is also Laura Linney, who is in love with the artist's brother, a man who doesn't have Tourettes but DOES have a desire to save the world and who often leaves for months at a time. Needless to say, this leaves Linney in the lurch, especialy since she is newly pregnant and hasn't yet told her lover,
She is left with the other brother and this is where the film becomes truly interesting. He cares deeply for her and she learns to see beyond the numerous tics, strange sounds and other behavior he displays. As she spends more time with him, she poses for him (the only time I can recall seeing Linney nude on-screen), reveals her fears about the pregnancy. They start to fall in love...but I won't reveal more.
A minor gem of a movie with real heart."
To good to describe
enjay | Germany | 01/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the best films I've ever seen! Wonderful pictures, perfectly fitting music, great and inspiring camera and cutting, beautiful warm story and outstanding unbelievable good acting!!! It's realy a sin you can't get this DVD in Germany (where I live) and many other countries. So nobody knows this phantastic work... All that hollywood trash you can get, but... whatever..."
One of my very favorite movies
Helen Zapata | Gainesville, MO | 01/30/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just wanted to say that MAZE is one of my most favorite movies ever. When I rented it from Blockbuster last year, I watched it and then sat through it a second time immediately. Last night I watched it again streamed off the internet. I'd known I loved it, but forgot how MUCH I do. I had planned to only watch the first half since I had things to do, but ended up watched the entire movie again. I'll be buying this for my own one day.
Anyway, Rob Morrow plays an artist with Tourette's Syndrome. I'd love to write him a fan letter for his performance and script. He is wonderful! He plays Lyle Maze with perfection. Movies and TV like to play the disabled in one of two ways. Either they are pathetic and helpless, or they are super human! Maze is a real person. He's a gifted artist who struggles through with his Tourette's. It's a pain in the butt but he loves his work and he just keeps going.
I'm not sure how realistic the jumping videocamera action is when they are trying to show us his viewpoint. I suppose only a person with Tourette's could tell us that. But it's okay. It adds to showing his distress and anxiety.
Anyway, this is a wonderful romantic movie. The friendships between the three are believable. The artwork is wonderful! I loved the art and watching Maze at work. I will be watching this movie again and again.
Rob Morrow, I always liked your work, but you did a great job with MAZE!"
Push Comes to Shove
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 11/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to give this one five stars because my wife says she won't speak to me unless I do. She claims this ia a fabulous love story. I don't know about that! When the movie begins, it's about a confused artist Lyle (Rob Morrow, with curly locks and a round, greasy face) who seems to be doing OK career-wise, represented by a major New York dealer and selling like crazy, he should be sitting on top of the world, and yet because he has Tourette's syndrome he's unhappy, and when it gets going the syndrome causes him to see things in a confused and yet dramatic way, like two lenses grinding against each other.
This and other optical values are supposedly inspired by the visual struggles of real life Tourettes patients. Rob Morrow wrote, directed, produced and stars in the movie and gives it everything he got. He has so many touching moments he creates mini-montages continually, in order I suppose to fit him into as many cute moues as possible. I put my foot down at one scene where he is supposed to be a birth coach for Callie (Laura Linney), the woman he wants but can't have because 1) she's the girlfriend of his best friend and 2) because he's so alienated and weird. This montage features a large rubber ball over which she is supposed to rub her stomach, rest her head, just roll around on, and other jump cut type glimpses, and then you see Lyle rolling around on it, caught up in the spirit of now the way I imagine Tourettes' syndrome, with its emphasis on sharp guttural moans and also obscenities in childhood, accustoms you to. But what do I know about Tourettes? My wife watched a video on You Tube, Twitch and Shout, the video Rob Morrow says inspired him to create the character of Lyle the successful artist. And the movie had a guy with curly hair and a round greasy face who twitched and popped just like Morrow, but cuter.
Should Laura Linney (foxy in a red haircut she should have learned to love) stay with the man who made her pregnant, even though he, Mike (Craig Sheffer) has gone off to Burundi to join the Doctors without Borders organization? Well, remember Beyond Borders with Clive Owen and Angelina Jolie protecting infants from landmines? Well, Laura Linney and Rob Morrow are the schlubs they left behind, and this is their story."