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      Hysterical Blindness

      TV-MA Released Jan 25, 2002 1h 39m Romance Drama List
      75% Tomatometer 12 Reviews 63% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings Pushing 30, Debby (Uma Thurman) finds herself anxiously single, despite the fact that she and her best friend Beth (Juliette Lewis) spend every night at Ollie's searching for Mr. Right. When Rick comes in the bar one night, Debby pegs him as her dream guy. In spite of the energy the women invest in finding a mate, preserving their relationship with each other is their primary desire. But it is this bond that lurches out of balance when the men in their lives threaten to take their love away. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (12) Critics Reviews
      John Leonard New York Magazine/Vulture Let Gena and Ben remind you of old John Cassavetes movies. Feb 1, 2018 Full Review Empire Magazine Rated: 3/5 Dec 30, 2006 Full Review Kirk Honeycutt Hollywood Reporter The actors pull out all the stops in nearly every scene, but to diminishing effect. The characters never change. Mar 26, 2003 Full Review Jas Keimig The Stranger (Seattle, WA) Thurman and Rowlands both received a Golden Globe for their performances in this middling-to-good Mira Nair-directed HBO flick. Dec 8, 2021 Full Review Film Threat Rated: 3/5 Dec 6, 2005 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 3/5 Nov 2, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (128) audience reviews
      Audience Member As an "aging woman" myself, still single and living with my parents, I would say I love this movie. Far from the terrible insecurity of Debbie is just one wish: to be loved. Then her mom finding and losing her true love in her golden years makes you think nothing is for sure, nothing must be taken for granted. There is no time to waste. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/26/23 Full Review Audience Member I adore Uma Thurman but her character seems so clumsy and forced here that it's a painful movie to watch. Her 'joisey' accent is beyond tortured. The storyline is vaguely interesting at first (she and her best friend, desperate to find good men, spend much of their time cruising dive bars and keeping their big hairstyles in place with Aquanet) but after a while you realize it's going nowhere and they just seem like sad, trapped characters. It's not even a satisfying character study as these characters seem one-dimensional and not altogether bright, resourceful or capable of any change. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Audience Member reel good chick flick gr8 cast & director Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member Took around 25 mins to get to grips with Uma Thurmas character (quite flaky and hard to watch at first). When I did the movie got better for me. Its quite gritty actually & has that feel-good ending. The 80's music and setting was a refreshing change. Worth a watch for sure. Juilette Lewis is great!! Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Audience Member Seeing Uma Thurman play a genuine, sensitive woman is a strange thing for me. Everyone (including myself) knows she's a terrific actress - but as a Tarantino die-hard obsessed with "Kill Bill" (I've legitimately seen "Vol. 1" at least thirty times), I'm hardly used to her portraying a woman capable of carrying on a soul-baring conversation without cutting someone in half with a Hattori Hanz? sword. Perhaps I should see what else she's capable of before I start making assumptions - so I suppose "Hysterical Blindness", an HBO TV-movie for which she won a Golden Globe, is a good place to start. Thurman is Debby Miller, a thirty-ish, '80s bound, New Jersey bred, lonely heart in the process of sinking into the suppressed life of an old maid. She's desperate for love - she and her best friend, single mom Beth (Juliette Lewis), parade around seedy bars looking for potential suitors like a second job - but as her low self-confidence is more up front than her immense good looks, she turns most men off, finding herself in a plight of one-night-stands instead of meaningful relationships. She's torn between continuing her search for Mr. Right and completely giving up; she still lives with her mother (Gena Rowlands), and still holds onto a low-paying job she most likely got in her early twenties. Eventually, Debby finds a possible mate in Rick (Justin Chambers), a seemingly nice guy she met during one of her late-night escapades. The hysterical blindness of the title derives from a condition that causes its victim to temporary become visually impaired after a long period of unresolved stress. Debby, so mind-numbingly obsessed with her lack of a love life, experiences the bizarre phenomenon, twice in the film (once in the beginning, to develop her as a neurotic leading lady, and once toward the conclusion, as a dramatic high point that begs her to consider what the hell she's doing with her life). Directed by Mira Nair, "Hysterical Blindness" is a drama frustrating in its inability to stay earnest throughout its length. Most of the film is moving, well-acted, but Nair, against good judgment, feels the need to include "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" repeatedly in the soundtrack as if to make the impression that we're watching a sappy woman's world drama more spurious than sincere, to render Debby and Beth as stereotypically New Jersey as possible to make their desperation even more desperate. Thurman and Lewis are so broadly drawn that it's a relief that they stir our emotions during their more dramatic scenes - there, the acting school vulgarity disappears and we finally feel like we understand these women. It's irritating that "Hysterical Blindness" is so regularly prodded by fakery, because, at its realest, most truthful, it momentarily turns into a movie rich in its passion. It's at its best when focusing on the relationship between Virginia (Rowlands) and her new boyfriend, Nick (Ben Gazzara). Both in their sixties, both numbed and used to their discontent, the love they find together is unexpected and exciting; Rowlands and Gazzara, in a mini Cassavetes reunion, are deeply touching. The side-plot makes for a good contrast between that of Debby and Beth - they would do anything to have a meaningful romance, and while they wander around various taverns, Virginia, who has been a waitress the majority of her adult life, simple finds someone by being herself. The scenes between Rowlands and Thurman are palpably wistful, their mother-daughter bond so thick that it's less of a familial pairing and more of a friends-forever partnership that guarantees the other that when the going gets rough, sticking together will hardly be an action in question. "Hysterical Blindness" is mostly a mixed bag, a sometimes poignant, sometimes obviously calculated comedy-drama that hits home at its best moments but feels like leftovers from an actor's previous vie for an Oscar nomination that didn't quite make it at its worst. But the cast does well with the uneven material, especially Rowlands, making "Hysterical Blindness" decent enough to make even the most cynical of viewers take a look at the world around them and wonder just how many people live to love, throwing their happiness away when they can't quite find it. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/03/23 Full Review Audience Member The terrific performances of the acting trio are almost overlooked in this bland and formulaic chick flick about girls unlucky in love. What else? Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/22/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis Pushing 30, Debby (Uma Thurman) finds herself anxiously single, despite the fact that she and her best friend Beth (Juliette Lewis) spend every night at Ollie's searching for Mr. Right. When Rick comes in the bar one night, Debby pegs him as her dream guy. In spite of the energy the women invest in finding a mate, preserving their relationship with each other is their primary desire. But it is this bond that lurches out of balance when the men in their lives threaten to take their love away.
      Director
      Mira Nair
      Producer
      Jason Blum, Amy Israel, Uma Thurman
      Screenwriter
      Laura Cahill
      Distributor
      HBO
      Rating
      TV-MA
      Genre
      Romance, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Jan 25, 2002, Original
      Release Date (DVD)
      Jun 1, 2004
      Runtime
      1h 39m
      Sound Mix
      Surround