Hysterical Blindness

Hysterical Blindness

5.0 2
Director: Mira Nair

Cast: Mira Nair, Uma Thurman, Gena Rowlands, Juliette Lewis

     
 

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Two aging single women in 1980s New Jersey enact a depressing routine of deluded barroom romance in this made-for-cable drama. At least 15 years after her father walked out on her, Debby (Uma Thurman) still has issues with men. She spends her evenings carousing with best friend, Beth (Juliette Lewis), and her hung-over days working customer service and dreaming of a… See more details below

Overview

Two aging single women in 1980s New Jersey enact a depressing routine of deluded barroom romance in this made-for-cable drama. At least 15 years after her father walked out on her, Debby (Uma Thurman) still has issues with men. She spends her evenings carousing with best friend, Beth (Juliette Lewis), and her hung-over days working customer service and dreaming of a proper romance. Debby's endless stream of dissatisfactions includes single mom Beth's precocious daughter, whose needs sometimes interrupt the women's search for boyfriends, and the shrewish condescension of her older co-workers. But on the very same day that high-strung Debby experiences a bout of hysterical blindness at work, she enjoys a strained encounter in the parking lot of her favorite watering hole with handsome construction worker Rick (Justin Chambers). This brief flirtation convinces Debby that she's finally found Mr. Right, but it's obvious to anyone else watching that Rick is Mr. Right Now, at best. As the relationship staggers along, Debby becomes convinced that the same is true of Nick (Ben Gazzara), the kindly widower who is courting her waitress mother, Virginia (Gena Rowlands). But even Nick's fatherly overtones and fine intentions can't shield Debby and Virginia from the vicissitudes of life. Executive-produced by star Thurman, Hysterical Blindness was directed by Mira Nair, fresh off the success of the art-house hit Monsoon Wedding. The associate producer was writer Laura Cahill, who adapted her own play for the small screen. The film premiered August 25, 2002, on HBO.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
The existential angst of the singles-bar set received its most notable excavation in the alternating liberation and danger of Looking for Mr. Goodbar. This downbeat made-for-cable drama doesn't feature a violent retribution reel, but it also lacks any sense that its working-class characters find much freedom going through their romantic paces. Uma Thurman gives a fearless performance as an insecure Jersey girl who's looking for love in the same wrong place over and over again. Snippy, petty, and constantly worried that her sidekick Beth (Juliette Lewis) will find the happiness that eludes her, Debby's the proverbial damaged goods. This leaves Thurman no room for sympathy or glamour, only pity, which isn't always easy to watch. As for Lewis, she has played the same part over and over again, but here, despite a few easy '80s laughs, she gets the kind of material that grants her dignity and depth. The film may sometimes feel like the downbeat flipside of the fraudulently feel-good Riding in Cars With Boys, but Lewis has her welfare-mom schtick down way better than Brittany Murphy ever could. It helps that Laura Cahill's script connects the dots across generations of women. Gena Rowlands has aged gracefully into the elder stateswoman of cinematic realness, and her careworn, quietly hopeful matriarch gives the film its sense of balance. The scene in which Rowlands and Thurman joyfully contemplate a roomful of new furniture compensates for the cloying finale, which elicits groans with its false sentimentality. Except for that final misstep, director Mira Nair trusts her instincts and turns in another solid family mosaic, albeit one with less of a celebratory air.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/21/2012
UPC:
0883316453513
Original Release:
2002
Source:
Warner Archives
Sales rank:
59,036

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Uma Thurman Debby
Gena Rowlands Virginia
Juliette Lewis Beth
Justin Chambers Rick
Ben Gazzara Nick
Anthony de Sando Bobby
Jolie Peters Amber

Technical Credits
Mira Nair Director
Lesley Barber Score Composer
Jason Blum Executive Producer
Kristina Boden Editor
Laura Cahill Associate Producer,Screenwriter
Stephanie Carroll Production Designer
Michael Decasper Asst. Director
Amy Israel Executive Producer
Sheila Jaffe Casting
Kasia Walicka Maimone Costumes/Costume Designer
Lydia Marks Set Decoration/Design
Jeff Mossa Art Director
Tom Nelson Sound/Sound Designer
Lydia Dean Pilcher Producer
Declan Quinn Cinematographer
Uma Thurman Executive Producer
Georgianne Walken Casting

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