Full disclosure: The first time (and only time until now) that I watched this film was when it first came out in 1991, at the cinema. At that time, it resonated strongly with me, because I was head-over-heels in (unrequited) love with a young man, who was very ill and was receiving chemotherapy.
So 23 years later, in entirely different circumstances, I was not sure if I would enjoy it as much as I did previously. It did however have the advantage of starring Campbell Scott, who is an actor I always enjoy watching. He plays Victor Geddes, a 28 year old man who has had Leukemia for 10 years. He hires Hilary (Julia Roberts) as a carer, to help him with the debilitating effects of his treatment. They end up falling in love when Victor is in remission, but when he becomes ill again, their relationship is put under tremendous strain.
As it turned out, I did enjoy watching this film again. Admittedly, it is flawed in places, and the Hilary character in particular is a bundle of cliches, but despite this, it is still a very moving and emotional story. Campbell Scott was always a perfect choice to play Victor, and he did an excellent job at portraying the young man’s frustration and anger, as well as his determination to enjoy whatever time he has left. He has a beautiful fragility and gentleness about him, and it is easy to understand how he and Hilary – who come from entirely different backgrounds, and initially struggle to understand each other – end up falling in love. At one point, he decides that he is no longer going to receive treatment for his disease, and is going to let things play out as they will. His feelings are entirely reasonable, but so are those of Hilary and his father, who don’t want him to give up.
Overall, I would say that this is a film well worth seeing, but make sure you have tissues handy, because you will cry.
Year of release: 1991
Director: Joel Schumacher
Producers: Sally Field, Mauri Syd Gayton, Duncan Henderson, Kevin McCormick
Writers: Marti Leimbacj (novel), Richard Friedenberg
Main cast: Campbell Scott, Julia Roberts, Vincent D’Onofrio, Colleen Dewhurst