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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

On DVD

Country: United States

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

Alternatives:

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

Summary

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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4 Comments

  1. BigToots
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    I saw this 20 year old movie for the first time today. I liked it. It is refreshing to watch a movie about 2 attractive people who fall in love. A romance without any “F” words or graphic sexual encounters. Of course the depiction of the side effects of chemotherapy are upsetting but that’s what chemo does to people. .The film is a romance – not a documentary about the treatment of leukemia.

  2. Theresa
    Posted November 26, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    I loved this movie and have watched this movie several times. The only thing that haunts me is that there is not a true ending, I know it is suppose to be poetic to let them walk off into the sunset but I would have loved for this to have a sequel. This could have shown the trails of true love. We are so missing this in new age movies. I also felt the chemistry between the two, it is an endearing movie.

  3. raisa
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I think Dying Young is more inspiring than high quality. Yes, it’s refreshing to see even in these days. Also, i looove Hillary’s character. She’s lively and tough, but not too much.

  4. raisa
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I think Dying Young is more inspiring than high quality. Yes, it’s refreshing to see even in these days. Also, i looove Hillary’s character. She’s lively and tough, but not too much.

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