Some films are excellent from the start, and it is a matter of trying to see
if it can hold up to the tremendous task of copying the human spirit in all
its glory. Despite the reviews, which claimed a very poor accent by Nick
Nolte's character, this film is really as strong and beautiful example of
what the art form can really do, but often does not
because too many producers are in it for the money, too much so, rather than
celebrate the beauty of the human spirit, in its many forms.
A young man, is found to have a debilitating disease ( ALD/MYELEN ) of the
brain, which eventually eats up the young person's body, one inch at a
time. And at the time it was inconceivable that anyone would really want to
do anything about it, specially the medical establishment. The Agostos, do
not take that lightly, and try anything, with a few hints and help from a
doctor who happens to be a bit of a skeptic of his own
colleagues, and the parents battle does not end, until there is something
which seems to work, to stop the terrible disease from continue on its
destructive path. And after fighting the medical establishment, including a
few nurses who don't give a damn, and do not think the young man will ever
make it, they finally find, amidst many studies, and papers, and information
a few things which might help the child. And they proceed to try these
things, until something works. The first one being the most critical, the
build up of fatty acids, which destroys many nerve cells.
Eventually they find someone who will co-operate, and a stodgy old foggie
who is patient enough to get the necessary syrup, which they believe will
help. And an Italian company decides it is worth sending it around. After
this effort, the parents have now to gain over the association which only
believes in the pain and the suffering ( I have seen the ADA do the same for
their menders ) in order to get more attention by the medical establishment,
who up until now have not been too helpful, with the exception of the good
Greek doctor, who is afraid to commit to a therapy, but does give
suggestions as to how it should be applied, and eventually defends the
family who has done such incredible research, and accomplished what many
medical teams could not.
The Agostos, have managed to get their closest friends, the wife's sister
calls herself a test rat ) and a neighbour whose son is also just acquired
the disease, a genetic disorder carried by the mother.
At the meeting of the sad feelings society, one of the mothers starts the
revolution which the Agostos need, which is their involvement in publicizing
the success of the radical medicines, with ample proof that it is working.
The young man Lorenzo is still alive today, and the nerve cells are
rebuilding very slowly.
George Miller has written this film, in a style that is similar to at least
one of his efforts, THE ROAD WARRIOR. The film oversees several years in
the process, and the chapter format seems to work very well here. In bits
and pieces that together bring the film to a triumphant conclusion, though
the battle is not won as yet, but could at any time.
Susan Sarandon, as the wife is superb, and worthy of her nomination for an
Oscar. While Nick Nolte is also very good, his style is very nice, though
at times a bit difficult to understand, but then, so are many foreigners,
and so what?.
Beautifully directed, and lovingly treated, this film is a must see for many
Copyright © 1994 Pedro Sena