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Lorenzos Oil

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Lorenzos Oil

Starring: Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon
Director: George Miller
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 135 Minutes
Release Date: January 1993
Genre: Drama


*Also starring: Peter Ustinov, Kathleen Wilhoite, Gerry Bamman, James Rebhorn, Margo Martindale



Review by Pedro Sena
3½ stars out of 4

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 viewers.

Copyright 1994 Pedro Sena

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