213. The English Patient

on

Movie: The English Patient

Release Date: November 15, 1996

Director: Anthony Minghella

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Juliette Binoche, Willem Dafoe, Kristen Scott Thomas, Naveen Andrews, Colin Firth, Julian Wadham, Jürgen Prochnow.

Tag Lines: “In love, there are no boundaries.”

“In memory, love lives forever.”

Relevance: When ‘The English Patient’ was released in theaters I was working as a manager for a retail company and expecting my first child. As a huge movie and Academy Award fan I was of course aware of its release. The film was getting huge Oscar buzz right out of the gate. However, it was the holiday season and I was working fifty plus hours a week and at the same time preparing for a newborn, so my theater going experience was limited.

I didn’t see ‘The English Patient’ until long after the birth of my son and it winning nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, when it was released as a VHS rental. Of course after winning its expected awards my interest in seeing it skyrocketed, so I was at Blockbuster as soon as they opened their doors on that “New Release” Tuesday. Luckily, Tuesday’s were my usual day off from work, so I had the whole day to enjoy the movie while watching my son. At only a couple months old, I didn’t think he would mind watching an epic romantic war drama at almost three hours.

The film’s only real criticism was its length, running at a then hefty two hours and forty-two minutes. I am never deterred from long movies. I figure I am at least getting my money’s worth. When it came to ‘The English Patient,’ I was so enthralled by it, I didn’t even notice that I sat for that long. Obviously my son had a good nap that day. I was immediately swept up into the story and was captivated by the artistry of the film. The directing, acting and cinematography were all executed to perfection. After watching it, I totally understood why it won so many Oscars.

Like I do with all movies that I fall in love with, I told everyone I could about the movie and highly recommended it. When I witness beautiful art, I want to share that art with the world. Unfortunately, not everyone shared my enthusiasm. Half of the people I told wanted nothing to do with the movie. “A long, boring romantic flick? No thanks.” Everyone else I told did at least watch it, but their reviews were not in accordance with mine. “A long, boring romantic flick. I hated it.” Well, I could have chalked that up to what I needed were new friends and acquaintances because they obviously had no taste, but I settled on something different. To each their own. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Because ‘The English Patient’ won the Oscar for Best Picture, I have owned it on both VHS and DVD. I have watched it a few times over the years and always stand by my original assessment. It is a beautifully crafted, fantastic epic tale deserving of all its accolades.

Today’s Thoughts: Let’s face it, 2020 is slipping into the record books as one of the all time worst, at least for my existence. I will say that I was somewhat prepared for it, as certain life changing occurrences were expected. Although I would have never guessed a global pandemic, which was just the universe saying “fuck you,” the last few days although shocking are not at all surprising. America and those who dwell here have swept “racism” under a rug for decades and pretended like it wasn’t here. That was proven wrong once again with the horrible murder of George Floyd. Black lives DO matter. I see you. I hear you. I support you. I stand with you. I love you. I can only hope that we can finally grow from where we are right now.

‘The English Patient’ was the perfect movie for today. Why? For two hours and forty-two minutes I was not watching the news. It was an escape for a bit. An escape that was most welcome and most enjoyed. I probably have not watched the film in its entirety in at least a decade, so I was excited about re-visiting it today.

I still stand by my original assessment of the movie. It is stunning in its ambition, its artistry and its message. Love has no boundaries. A message we can all stand behind. Anthony Minghella, the film’s director, totally deserved all of the awards he received for this epic masterpiece. The ensemble of actors is equally fantastic. Ralph Fiennes as always been one of my favorite actors and he delivers a heartbreaking performance as the eponymous protagonist. Juliette Binoche gives a stunning, gorgeous and beautiful performance and is the one that makes me cry the most in the film. Yes, this is a Kleenex movie for sure.

‘The English Patient’ was obviously admired by the Academy and most critics when it was released and no one can take away its Best Picture award. If you look at lists of the “worst to best” ranked Best Picture winners, it usually falls somewhere in the middle. It is a gorgeous movie and I highly recommend it, although that hasn’t worked out for me in the past. It seems everyone is an Elaine from “Seinfeld” and ‘The English Patient’ is no ‘Sack Lunch.’ Junk, treasure, treasure, junk.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture (winner), Academy Award for Best Director, Anthony Minghella (winner), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Juliette Binoche (winner), Academy Award for Best Cinematography, John Seale (winner), Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan (winner), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Ann Roth (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, Walter Murch, Mark Berger, David Parker, Christopher Newman (winner), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Walter Murch (winner), Academy Award for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, Gabriel Yared (winner), Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Ralph Fiennes (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Kristen Scott Thomas (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Anthony Minghella (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (winner), Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture, Gabriel Yared (winner), Golden Globe for Best Director – Motion Picture, Anthony Minghella (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Kristen Scott Thomas (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Ralph Fiennes (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, Juliette Binoche (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay – Motion Picture, Anthony Minghella (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Juliette Binoche (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, Anthony Minghella (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, John Seale (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Editing, Walter Murch (winner), BAFTA Award for Film Music, Gabriel Yared (winner), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Anthony Minghella (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Kristen Scott Thomas (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Ralph Fiennes (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Stuart Craig (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Ann Roth (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Sound, Mark Berger, Pat Jackson, Walter Murch, Christopher Newman, David Parker, Ivan Sharrock (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up/Hair, Fabrizio Sforza, Nigel Booth (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Ralph Fiennes (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, Kristen Scott Thomas (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Juliette Binoche (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Anthony Minghella (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, Anthony Minghella (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Anthony Minghella (winner), Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography, John Seale (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, Juliette Binoche (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, Kristen Scott Thomas (winner), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress, Kristen Scott Thomas (nomination), National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography, John Seale (nomination), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, Saul Zaentz, PGA Award for Theatrical Motion Pictures, Saul Zaentz (winner), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Anthony Minghella (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Vudu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, Cinemax, DVD Availability.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s