Blindspot 2017: The English Patient (1996)

Directed by Anthony Minghella and being the recipient of a whole lot of Oscar attention at the 69th Academy Awards, The English Patient (1996) is one of those films that you know is an epic before you even watch it. Its reputation precedes it. Its synopsis is as follows:

At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair. (source)

I watched The English Patient for my Blindspot series. Unfortunately, I have literally nothing to say about it. I’ve lost my powers of written expression because I watched an extravagant, meandering film that had a duration of 162 minutes and my brain melted into mush by its conclusion. It’s not like I hated it. It was an extremely beautiful film and a treat for the senses. Ralph Fiennes’ performance was quite wonderful. The film’s sensuality, however, more often than not morphed into melodramatic sentimentality. I just think that possibly the huge, romantic epics aren’t for me. I am glad though that I finally watched this and can cross it off the list.

However – the whole time I was watching the film, I couldn’t get these scenes from Seinfeld out of my head. I felt a bit like Elaine, although I possibly did like the film more than she did.

This scene, in particular, really resonated with me:

Peterman and Elaine are still in front of The English Patient. Peterman
stares, enraptured, at the screen. Elaine is totally frantic with boredom.

PETERMAN: Elaine, I hope you’re watching the clothes, because I can’t take my
eyes off the passion.

ELAINE: (quiet vehemence) Oh. No. I can’t do this any more. I can’t. It’s too
long. (to the screen) Quit telling your stupid story, about the stupid
desert, and just die already! (louder) Die!!

The other movie patrons turn and shush Elaine, who sits back in her seat.

PETERMAN: (surprised) Elaine. You don’t like the movie?

ELAINE: (shouts) I hate it!!

CROWD: Shh!

ELAINE: (shouts) Oh, go to hell!!

3.5/5
Watch the trailer here.

7 comments

  1. Haven’t seen this one yet, myself. I do plan on it, but I’m in no rush. Sounds like I don’t need to be.

    1. I think it’s one of those films everyone should see at some point in time; it’s just so pervasive pop culture-wise. But dont’t have high expectations for it!

  2. Uh, as a fan of this film (and I do consider it a masterpiece) this was a painful read for me! haha but I do know where you are coming from. I know some people who also see it as a bit too melodramatic and long. Perhaps, there is some truth in it. But, I am also in love with this film’s score by genius Gabriel Yared and, really, this film is better than the book it is based on by Michael Ondaatje. And, if anything, it is a perfect adaptation.

    1. Oh yeah, I would say it qualifies as a masterpiece. It’s a beautiful film not just visually but also thematically and story-wise… I just get so exhausted by these types of films, and couldn’t help thinking of Elaine!

  3. […] The English Patient (1995) […]

  4. I watched this as a teenager – think it might have flown over my head a bit then. Planning to revisit soon(ish).

    1. I’d like to revisit it one day, perhaps with a glass of wine next time!

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