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Dying Young (1991)

Shes giving him something nobody else could. A reason to live.

Directed by:

Joel Schumacher

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 106 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Julia Roberts stars as Hilary O'Neil, an attractive woman who finds herself at a loose end after catching her boyfriend in bed with another woman. Leaving their shared home, she needs to find a job and a place to stay. She applies for a residential position, acting as carer and nurse for Victor Geddes (Campbell Scott) a young man from a very wealthy family who is suffering with cancer. Although his father (David Selby) would prefer a trained nurse, Victor overrules his decision and chooses to employ Hilary. Victor is seeking someone who will support him through his chemotherapy, rather than just a nurse.

When Hilary accompanies Victor to his first chemo session, she is struck with sympathy for the cancer patients, but once they return home and she sees the aftermath of the side-effects she is not at all sure that she can handle the job. Victor convinces her to stay and give it a try, as he is becoming attracted to her and beginning to see her as a reason for living. When Victor tells her that the course of chemo is over and has been successful, they move together to a secluded house where their relationship blossoms. But cancer is not so easily dismissed and soon they will have to come to terms with it once more.

This simple romance has a great deal of potential, but in general it rarely lives up to it. Although one cannot really fault the performances of Roberts and Scott, the characters as written lack charm and sympathy, and there is a distinct lack of chemistry between the two. The character of Victor Geddes is easy to pity but hard to like, and it is difficult to see why Hilary would find him so appealing. The film does deserve credit for its portrayal of the trials that a cancer patient endures, which are harrowing and full of impact. It also successfully shows the effect of cancer on people near the patient – the character of Hilary has to do a lot more than wipe Victor's brow, and the emotional pressures on her and others are clearly portrayed.

It's Got: Harrowing scenes of chemotherapy side-effects.

It Needs: Sympathetic characters with chemistry.

DVD Extras In the UK, Dying Young is only available on DVD in a double pack with another Julia Roberts film, Sleeping with the Enemy. Extras: Theatrical trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10


A Walk to Remember, Love Story., One True Thing


A superficial treatment of what could have been a strong story, 'Dying Young' is saccharine sweet rather than deep and emotional.

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