The English Patient : Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche Willem Dafoe etc a jpoc movie review

One of the finest films ever made?

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My Rating

Ten out of ten.

I liked this film very much indeed when I first saw it and, since then, I have liked it more each time that I saw it again. I first saw this on the 23rd of March 1997 at the Kinepolis in Brussels with a Belgian friend. She cried at the soppy bits and I cried at the 'plane crashes.

My review

In the final days of the last war, a badly burned man lies dying in an abandoned church in newly liberated Italy. With his memory of the past gone, the one purpose left in his life is to regain his memories before he dies. As those memories come back, a story of love and tragedy emerges.

This film appeals on very many different levels.

The story that unfolds of the doomed love between The English Patient and the wife of one of his fellow pilots and explorers really is a powerful tale.

But as this is revealed, we also see the Patient struggling with a life whose only purpose has become to try to survive for long enough to remember. We see this man living parts of his life again as the memories return.

Interwoven with this is the quest of the mysterious Carravagio to find, confront and bring to justice the man whom he blames for the mutilations that he suffered at the hands of the Germans.

Then there is the story of the Army Nurse, Juliette Binoche who, despite the conflicts and tragedies that she sees remains totally committed to both her patient and the man whom she comes to love.

If these story items are not enough, the beautiful filming of Africa and Italy is real artistry. It's just wonderful to look at. Even without characters and plot, the landscapes and flying sequences would make it worth watching this film.

The acting is a delight to view as well. The actors are confronted with roles that cannot have been at all easy to portray. Despite this, every character in the film is brought to life.

This film was showered with awards when first released and it deserved every one of them. It's a great movie and you can watch it over and over again and keep finding something new to think about.