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Plot: At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair. Runtime: 162 mins Release Date: 06 Dec 1996
In a style reminiscent of the best of David Lean, this romantic love story sweeps across the screen with epic proportions equal to the vast desert regions against which it is set. It's a film which purports that one does not choose love, but rather that it's love that does the choosing, regardless of who, where or when; and furthermore, that it's a matter of the heart often contingent upon prevailing conditions and circumstances. And thus is the situation in `The English Patient,' directed by Anthony Minghella, the story of two people who discover passion and true love in the <more>
most inopportune of places and times, proving that when it is predestined, love will find a way.It's WWII; flying above the African desert, Hungarian Count Laszlo de Almasy Ralph Fiennes is shot down, his biplane mistaken for an enemy aircraft. And though he survives the crash, he is severely burned. To his great good fortune, however, he is rescued by a tribe of nomads and winds up in a hospital. But existing conditions are governed by circumstances of war, and Almasy soon becomes one of many patients being transported via convoy to a different facility. Upon reaching Italy, he is too weak and ill to continue on, and a Canadian nurse, Hana Juliette Binoche , volunteers to stay behind with him at an abandoned monastery.Hana soon discovers that her charge is something of a man of mystery, as Almasy remembers nothing of his past, and not even his own name. Thought to be English, the only clues pointing to who he is are contained in a book found in his possession after the crash, but even they are as cryptic as Hana's patient. Slowly, however, under prompting from Hana, Almasy begins to remember bits and pieces of his life, and his story begins to unfold. And his memory is helped along even more by the appearance of a mysterious stranger named Caravaggio Willem Dafoe , who suspects that Almasy is the man he's been looking for-- a man with whom he wants to settle a score. But, burned beyond recognition, Almasy may or may not be that man. Meanwhile, Almasy's memories continue to surface; memories of a woman he loved, Katherine Clifton Kristin Scott Thomas -- as well as memories of Katherine's husband, Geoffrey Colin Firth . And, crippled in mind and body as he is, those memories become the only thing left to which he can cling with any hope at all, even as his life seems to be slipping farther away with each passing moment.In addition to directing, Anthony Minghella also wrote the screenplay for this film, which he adapted from the novel by Michael Ondaatje. The result is an epic saga presented in the tradition of Lean's `Doctor Zhivago' and `Lawrence of Arabia'; a magnificent film that fills the screen and the senses with unprecedented grandeur and beauty. Simply put, Minghella's film is genius realized; crafted and delivered with a poetic perfection, watching it is like watching a Monet come to life. From the opening frames, Minghella casts a hypnotic spell over his audience that is binding and transporting, with a story that has an emotional beauty that equals the engagingly stunning and vibrant images brought to life by John Seale's remarkable cinematography; images that virtually fill the screen as well as the soul of the viewer. In every sense, this is a film of rare eloquence, with a striking emotional capacity that facilitates an experience that is truly transcendental. Nominated in twelve categories, it deservedly received a total of nine Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress Binoche and Cinematography.If one had to choose a single word to describe the `essence' of this film, it would be `excellence.' Even an extraordinary film, however, does not receive nine Oscars without performances that are extraordinary in kind; and the performances given by Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas here transcend the term `Oscar worthy.' Nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Almasy Geoffrey Rush was awarded the gold for `Shine' , Fiennes has never been better, achieving an emotional depth with his character that is nearly palpable. Private and introspective, Almasy is not by his very nature an individual to whom the audience will be able to form an intimate connection; Fiennes, however, finds a way to open that emotional door just enough to let you in, enough so that you taste the honest passion welling up within him. And it works. Almasy does not seek your friendship; he will, however, gain your compassion.Kristen Scott Thomas, too, received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress Frances McDormand received the award for `Fargo' for her portrayal of Katherine, a woman whose stoic countenance masks the emotional conflict raging within her, born of the forbidden passion that enslaves her and yet to which she gives herself willingly, casting off her shackles of repression to embrace a love so strong it threatens to consume her. The reserve Katherine must maintain evokes the empathy of the audience, as Scott Thomas successfully mines the emotional depths of her character to the greatest possible effect. It's the kind of performance that draws you in and holds you fast, taking you as it does beyond that curtain of hypocrisy that dictates what must be if only for the sake of appearances, and allows you to experience a true sense of unbridled passion. Understated and shaded with subtlety, it's terrific work by Kristin Scott Thomas.Binoche gives a stunning, affecting performance, as well, as the kindhearted nurse, Hana; it is her humanity, in fact, which defines love in it's purest sense and offers a balanced perspective of it within the context of the film. Her relationship with Kip Naveen Andrews affords us a glimpse of passion of another kind, which contrasts effectively with the intensity of that between Almasy and Katherine. `The English Patient' is a film that will move you and fill you emotionally; one you will not want to see end. 10/10.
The greatest romance movie of all time? Probably... (by Mercedes-6)
I've seen a few movies in my time, but this one is exceptional. You'll have to watch it more than once to truly appreciate it, it is emotionally very complex, it explores love and passion at it's most extreme and it's cinematography is just breathtaking. The character of the Count is intensely passionate and tragic without him having to raise his voice or indeed leave his bed, the film is perfectly cast and perfectly acted. The film has a sort of mathematical precision and perfection to it which is rare these days. It combines action, love, tragedy, drama and politics all in <more>
one. This movie is unmissable, all the hype surrounding it and all the awards cannot begin to do it any justice. Hats off to Michael Ondaatje for writing the incredible book on which it is based.
TEP is like a long cool drink of water after crawling across the Sahara to classic film buffs who have been too long deprived of that certain cinematic magic! Not only is it beautifully photographed, but the characters are perfectly portrayed. If you're looking for the film to be a mirror of the book, you will be seriously disappointed. Instead, it is an excellent "companion" to the book, and I think that is what Anthony Minghella intended. Ralph Fiennes is probably the most beautiful man in the world; not to mention a brilliant actor. Juliette Binoche is the posterchild for <more>
vulnerability and childlike enthusiasm. And, of course, I'll go see any film in which Kristin Scott Thomas is featured. She simply must be THE best actress since the likes of Deborah Kerr. So much was promised with this film, and so much is delivered!
I like this movie above all others. It is "multi-layered"; there is so much to see and appreciate. Every viewing brings a new appreciation of the story-line, the plot and the characters. Faultlessly acted and extremely enjoyable if you take the time to watch it and appreciate it. I love the interaction between the players; the subtle relationships; the period atmosphere. Ralph Fiennes is perfectly cast as the brooding lover and Geoffrey the wronged husband is beautifully underplayed by Colin Firth. The scene in the sand storm where Catherine & El-masy are discussing the <more>
different types of sand storms is one of the high-lights of the film and where the affair really starts. The other relationship between Hanna & El-masy is yet another "layer" of the movie which is totally enchanting and heart-rending . A worthy winner of so many awards.
as can be read in many reviews here it is a movie you love or hate - apparently not so much space for opinions in between. I for one think that is a good sign. I always appreciated this movie, although the genre is not my typical style I never watched Titanic for instance, and am not planning to .The English Patient grips because it shows how people can be different when they are in an exotic environment as opposed when they are 'home' Katherine , it shows how destructive love can be in a slow, strong and utterly painful way, it excites because of the extremely passionate affair, <more>
the pain of the one s who leave behind, how pointless one can feel to move on. The photography is just stunning, not to mention the play of the actors. The pace is slow, but timely, and that does justice to the book, the timeline, and the depth/development of the characters. To put this in 110 minutes as some seem to suggest here would amputate the multi-layeredness of this movie. People tend to have difficulties with the pace of movies... as if they are in a rush to get to work.. hey - get a life ! ;- enjoy...I give this movie 4.5 out of 5.
A masterpiece of intimate moment and spectacular largesse... (by Nazi_Fighter_David)
'The English Patient' is a love story set in Europe as World War II ends... It is a wartime romance mystery epic, like 'Hiroshima, Mon Amour,' 'The Sweet Hereafter,' and 'After Life.' Anthony Minghella weaves extravagant beauty around a central character whose condition is grotesque, and puts emotional barriers between the characters and the audience...This adult love story is an intimate portrait in the tradition of 'Casablanca' and 'Dr. Zhivago.' The film sweeps gracefully attaining a level of eroticism and emotional connection that many <more>
similar films had missed... Told in flashback, it is a masterpiece of intimate moment and spectacular largesse...Ralph Fiennes plays the English patient, Count Laszlo de Almasy, a Hungarian cartographer of few words, who works for the British government, and is stationed in the North African desert...Count Laszlo is the unidentified survivor of a plane crash turned over to the Allies, taken into custody by a medical convoy in Italy, and essentially left to die in peace, in an isolated monastery in Tuscany, under the care of an inspiring pretty nurse who injects him with morphine, and reads to him a book, considered his great treasure, and his one surviving possession...Hana seeks to stimulate his touching memories, wrapped up in his head, released in lost pieces from his disturbed mind...Fiennes gives a haunted, pained performance, playing the young man whose veneer of charm cannot plainly cover his heart's capacity for passion... He makes us sympathize with the character in showing self-doubt and weakness... As a badly burned man, he has only cherished memories... His joy and heartbreak are completely clear and visible in his eyes... He remembers falling under the spell of an attractive English married woman... He remembers the way this turns him from a harsh abrupt wanderer into a man willing to betray everything for love... His tragic love affair forms the heart of the motion picture...Kristin Scott Thomas matches Fiennes' work with a radiant sensuality... She is captivating as the married European woman, conveying the audience with the energy and enthusiasm for life that the Count finds irresistible... Their different world, despairing and hopeful, menacing and resilient, is simply beautiful... With intense passion and intelligence, this attractive blonde burns the screen as the different wife...Juliette Binoche seems to shine as the French-Canadian nurse full of life and energy... This vibrant young woman has a heart of gold, kissing wounded soldiers, but she thinks that she is a curse as anybody she ever loved tends to die on her...Colin Firth is good as Katherine's husband... He is a British spy flying into the tough desert in a yellow biplane to take aerial maps of the whole North African continent... He quickly becomes friend of the Count, yet when he realizes that his wife has committed adultery, his face reflected a peaceful fury...William Dafoe plays a double-agent spy who covers his anger with a strange charm... He is a crippled war veteran who has a hidden agenda... This cunning Canadian man seems to know of some dark secret in Almasy's past... He believes the 'English patient' is partially responsible for the mutilation of his hands, and is busy seeking revenge on everyone even remotely involved...Naveen Andrews is Hana's ardent lover He is a handsome Sikh, and an explosives expert with a dangerous job There's a scene that is stuck in my head because it literally had me on the edge of my seat for what seemed an eternity In this particular scene, the military sapper has to cut the wires on a bomb that has been hidden on a bridge It's on a timer and he only has a few minutes left The scene cuts back and forth between his tense face, the wires and his dirty fingers as they try madly to figure out how to untangle and cut the wires without detonating the bomb All the conventional elements of the genre are at peaks of excellence in "The English Patient." John Seale's cinematography is breathtaking, and Gabriel Yared's majestic music is dreamy, and romantic This is a rich motion picture with ambition and style, a fever dream, lyrical and complex We are almost able to feel the heat of the desert, the pain of the burnings, the intimate flush of humanity that becomes the most haunting element of this epic love story...
despite a few flaws, "The English Patient" proves itself as an enthralling modern-day epic with that same sweeping sense that made movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" (by TheUnknown837-1)
One of the most charming and, for me at least, the most powerful elements of Anthony Minghella's enthralling Best Picture-winner "The English Patient" is that, in the mid 90s, when Hollywood was in the initial stage of having lost its nerve for grand new projects, a film was created that brought back traces—very powerful traces—of the sweeping, wonderful majesty that crafted movies such as "Lawrence of Arabia" 1962 and "The Ten Commandments" 1956 . "The English Patient" contains very much of what made those films so powerful. It has that <more>
glorious feeling, a stretched running time that hardly seems long at all, and fascinating characters with pasts and stories."The English Patient", based on a novel by the same name by Michael Ondaatje, is like "The Godfather: Part II" 1974 in the sense of how it's constructed. It's a blending of two stories: the past and the present and it all revolves around the titular character: an English patient in the post years of World War Two. Ralph Fiennes plays the English patient, who has been scarred for life by a plane crash, and being taken care of in an isolated church by a single nurse played marvelously by Juliette Binoche. Apart from bonding with her raspy-voiced, troubled patient, Binoche comes to learn about his past when a stranger Willem Dafoe arrives and the two men appear to know each other.That's just one of the two beautifully crafted stories that shape this film. The other one, told in flashback, is the patient's past, before he was scarred and dying in a bed. The story of the present mixed with the patient's past and his love affair that tragically changed his life forever.To be blunt, "The English Patient" is a love story blended with a sweeping epic sensation and it blends magnificently. What I really admired about the love story between Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas was how passionate, how obsessive, how enchanting it was shown on screen. Usually in love stories, such as Minghella's later "Cold Mountain" 2003 , the romantic elements seem far more lustful than obsessive to me. Some of the love scenes feature elements that may tend to be associated more with lust than love, but still, because it is so well developed and not rushed and not exploited out of proportion, we can believe that there is a sure, true love between these characters. It reminded me a lot of "Vertigo" 1958 in how well the filmmakers and performers convinced us that these were two actual human beings who truly fell in love with each other.Performances all around were great. I was especially enthralled by the performance by Juliette Binoche, who took home the Oscar for her performance the following year. I also liked Willem Dafoe playing the sort of cynical, questionable character that he's always quintessential at playing. And of course I can't leave out Fiennes and Scott Thomas and their portrayals of two very passionate lovers.Despite my enormous enthusiasm for this epic, I would be dishonest if I were to describe it as a perfect film. There are two flaws that I cannot glance over. Number one, it is a little too long and the reason for this is my second complaint, there are a few unnecessary subplots. I was not enchanted or particularly interested with the second love story between Binoche and a bomb specialist played by Naveen Andrews. My research has led me to assume that this plot element comes from the original book and I'm sure it worked perfectly in there, but in the film, it just seems a little distracting and the relationship between the two characters didn't fascinate me. I was far more interested by Fiennes character and his relationships with his two leading actresses.Nevertheless, these two flaws are easily forgivable even if they do slow things down a bit. Those put aside, "The English Patient" is an extraordinary achievement of film-making. To me, it was sort of like an insane mix up between "Casablanca" 1942 and "Lawrence of Arabia" 1962 , two remarkable and better films, and this effective blend proved to be well worth my time. It is a real shame that Anthony Minghella has left us. For he was a truly gifted filmmaker. This is all the evidence anybody needs.
A highly romantic, layered, dramatic, beautiful experience...sometimes in excess? (by secondtake)
The English Patient 1996 This pulls out every high drama romance issue known to men and women in love, and with great sophistication and beauty. It is set in that most dramatic of times, World War II, and in the most gorgeous of places, North Africa dripping in sand and sun, and Italy in the provinces outside of Florence. The leads are sophisticated and beautiful, too, so if you don't fall in love with the scenery, and don't get sucked in by the layered and heart wrenching plot, you'll come to love at least some of the characters, played by actors of substance, with intensity.So <more>
what could go wrong? Some will say nothing. It did win seven seven! Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for the richly talented Anthony Minghella . Yet both times I saw it I was not quite absorbed. I don't think it is too long, especially, though it is long. Instead I think it is too perfect, which of course is double talk, to say that the flaw of a movie is that it is too perfect. But you can see, maybe, how a movie is just so poised and fluid and cinematically calculated it starts to feel "knowing" or somehow aware of its own perfection. Likewise with the plot, screenwritten by Minghella from a novel by Michael Ondaatje, is almost too packed with the worst and best kinds of scenes--abandoned lovers, lovers seeing lovers cheat on them, identities lost, memories told by candlelight, promises made and kept, or not kept, against the most grandiose odds and explosive circumstances. It's amazing stuff, and it begs for honesty, for some cracks in the glass. Too much Tiffany and blood, not enough hesitation and error. Those things make for a different kind of perfection.But then again, this is like finding the flaws in a Hitchcock film. They abound, and they might be interesting, but don't forget the whole, the parts that work, and work you over, and leave you breathless and crying if you let them. The English Patient rises above itself many times. Juliette Binoche is easily the most compelling character in her honesty, and Colin Firth gives a small but charmed performance. Ralph Fiennes is meant to have two different sides to his character or three, if you include the bed-ridden version , and when he is sparkling and feisty he is alive on the screen. As a brooding, serious man he approaches wooden at times, though some women might disagree. The least known of the four or five main actors, Kristen Scott Thomas, is meant to be exactly what she is--an adventurous and gifted person who everyone likes but who is, at heart, making the most of being away from England, and this unromanticized presence is key. Finally there is Willem Dafoe, who plays that slightly exaggerated, quirky, creepy guy he can do so well.And this of course, just brushes against the iceberg. Like The Talented Mr. Ripley by the same director , this is a mammoth undertaking, hugely engrossing, but unlike Ripley, this one is at times ironically cold, playing with so many flashbacks its construction starts to intrude. But the movie is still worth seeing for what it pulls off best: high romance, great drama, and another version of true love on the screen.
The English Patient seems to be more of a book than a film, with a slow, magical flow, that captures your imagination, or bores you, if you are one of the less patient crowd. The story isn't the main draw of the film there are countless sad love stories in Hollywood each year, but not every one wins an Oscar . What is so captivating of the film is its pacing, and it is easy to understand why it appeals more to older people and to those who watch the film more than once. Fiennes always is a solid presence in films, taking the movies from good film to classic. The movie touches on the <more>
points of WWII that we don't always see, from Kip the demolitions expert to Hana the nurse a well played role . It's not a movie that people love/hate, but one that people find incredibly interesting or boring. It's something I would recommend for everyone, but that doesn't mean i think they'll like it. 8 of 10 stars/