Amy Benic (played by Mira Sorvino) is an architect in New York. She’s a successful professional and works hard. In fact, she’s become so exhausted that her colleagues convince her to take a break at a Wellbeing resort out of town. She slowly relaxes while there, thanks to the totally marvellous therapy she gets from her blind masseur Virgil Adamson (by Val Kilmer). They develop a friendship, then Virgil asks her out – and the two begin a relationship. Virgil has made a comfortable life for himself in the town, he’s happy and well settled. He looks after his own needs pretty well – although his sister Jennie (by Kelly McGillis), does keep a close eye on him. Deeply in love with Virgil, Amy tries to understand his condition and yearns to be able to help him. She learns of Doctor Charles Aaron’s experimental work that could potentially restore Virgil’s sight. She is very keen for this to happen and convinces Virgil to go ahead with the surgery – after all, if Virgil’s sight comes back, that would make the couple’s life so much better …. right?
This movie starts off like a cheesy romance, but you should give it some time … it’s worth it. It’s the fascinating story of Virgil’s experiences, both physical and emotional, when his sight is restored – the impact that has on himself, his life and the relationships he has in the world. It is the dramatisation of the true story of Shirl and Barbara Jennings. It will probably spark some of your own thinking about how we fit into our world and if something you have known from childhood suddenly changes significantly, how would you deal with it? These issues are well depicted and explored. The performances are fine, it’s watchable and I’d say the best is actually Nathan Lane as Virgil’s visual physiotherapist.
Made in 1999. Directed by Irwin Winkler