The English Patient

Where has The English Patient been all my life?  How can it be that it was made in 1996 ( .. ’96! .. that’s way more than 10 years ago) and I hadn’t seen it until tonight?  Even worse, Michael Ondaatje’s book was published in 1992, and won the Booker … and I haven’t read that either.  What have I been doing these past 15 years …?

That is A Good Question.  Possibly for consideration in another post. Possibly.

Anyway:  Tony – bless him – bailed after about 20 minutes, saying:  “hmm .. no, sorry .. this isn’t really doing it for me”.  Me, on the other hand … well:  it had me by the throat from the beginning.  And by the end (OK … around 45 minutes from the end, probably;  and every minute thereafter) I was sobbing inconsolably.  I think this is one of the reasons I adore NetFlix (or home cinema in general).  I’d feel a little inhibited in a cinema, where – with a few noble exceptions – the rending of garments is moderately frowned upon. But, at home, you can weep until your sofa cushions are sodden;  and there’s no-one to care except …


Hmmmm.   Why is it that cinema has this effect on me?  Films (or any combination of sound and vision) have the power to completely sweep me away – for good or ill – in a way that I’ve found in few other people.  Often I really, really wish that I had sole access to – and control over – my ’emotions’ remote-control.  But almost as often – like tonight – I think it’s a brilliant lightening-rod.

My thoughts aren’t organized enough – yet – to explain quite why this film had me by the throat.  There are obvious personal connections (Egypt;  the war in Italy, where Dad was).  But also some more universal things, like the awful moral choices we’ve become luxuriously immune (for now) from having to make ourselves.


3 thoughts on “The English Patient

  1. Soundtrack to this film is enough to trigger me…other movies with the same lachrymose effect are An Education, Up (continuous moisture from five minutes in), and Ring of Bright Water.

  2. Pingback: Redemption. With lots of butter … « SoftEdges

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