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WHAT LOVE SEES, 1996
Movie Review

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WHAT LOVE SEES MOVIE POSTER
WHAT LOVE SEES, 1996
Movie Reviews

Directed by Michael Switzer
Starring Richard Thomas and Annabeth Gish
Review by Russell Hill



SYNOPSIS:

An affluent woman who was born blind finds love with a farmer who too is blind but does not view his disability as a problem in going about his daily life.

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REVIEW:

Originally bought because the director and its leading actor were involved in “I Can Make You Love Me”, a television movie which is simply one of the finest to date that has been released on the small-screen, this movie as well as the former was based on true events. Although some might find this love-conquers-all story a bit too sickly, I did not see myself belonging to this camp as I found this storyline quite endearing.

Jean (Gish) is stuck between two worlds. One world is of luxury where every request is made so. The other is of discrimination at the hands of her parents who see her as a pathetic excuse for a human being because she cannot see. After receiving a letter from a friend of a friend, she learns of Gordon (Thomas) and his life of working the land. Although he has help in the form of a Native American, he generally gets by and leads a pretty “normal” life. After accepting an invitation to marry and live with Gordon on his farm, Jean is apprehensive at first due to her living this completely different life. But, will she ever learn to cope with this new lifestyle?

Their first collaboration that is “I Can Make You Love Me” showed to the world that what we had at work here was a fine actor who was directed by a prolific individual. The art of playing a person who is blind can be taken with a pinch of salt; sometimes it works and on other occasions it makes you wonder why the heck they got into the acting professions at all. But here, both Thomas and Gish seem to excel in this. Thomas, otherwise known as John-Boy Walton, shows that even playing a character who cannot see is no barrier to him. Although the music of the film sometimes mocks his efforts, an element of the mise-en-scene I can never stand and find myself shaking my head when it is demonstrated, Thomas’s acting is always to the standard which we expect of him. Gish too soars higher over any acting expectations. Just like Thomas, her acting skills are quite something but as she is against Thomas in many scenes her acting is often overshadowed. The other members of the cast, such as her siblings and mother, show to the audience that they are not in the same league as Gish. Gish, along with Thomas, shows that they are A-List actors but surrounded by Z-List people. Shame it may be, this is the only let down on their performances but it is only a minor element which should be ignored.

The director is always someone I have forecasted for bigger and better things in Hollywood and here is a prime example of his craft. Directors often feel the urge to intrude in the scene, letting their ego swell over the acting we see on the screen by using too many edits or sweeping pans when not necessary. But here, Switzer allows the action to flow rather well that it makes the film a very pleasing site to see. This reviewer suspects that Thomas is fond of Switzer due to their three (and counting) collaborations. But, when a film as good as this is the product of their relationship, who the hell cares?

A cracker of a film which American audiences would call “swell” but not being from the former colonies I cannot say it is so but “damn fine example of a classic” sure is a sublime summary of this movie.

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