What can I even say about The English Patient? It’s one of my absolute favorite movies. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. I love the book and this is one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations because the fact that a movie made from this book was even possible blows my mind, much less a movie as great as The English Patient.
There are a couple of downsides to watching The English Patient: it reminds me how incredibly underrated Ralph Fiennes is and makes me mad that’s never won an Oscar and it makes me cry every time. It’s so incredibly beautiful; it’s shot beautifully, the actors are beautiful, all of their relationships are so beautiful and interesting. I think my favorite relationship of all is that between Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), badly burned and dying, and his nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche). Several other characters remark that Almasy and Hana must be in love, but they genuinely aren’t. They love each other, but in a more familial way. They identify with each other. They’ve both suffered extreme loss and pain and deal with it together. They heal each other, both literally and figuratively.
In high school I was particularly enraptured with Almasy and Katharine (Kristin Scott Thomas)’s relationship, and watching it now I think it’s because their romance is so intense that it’s easy for a teenager to identify with it. Though it’s even more intense and crazier in the book, their tumultuous relationship in the movie is definitely kind of teenager-y because they’re obsessed with each other and have such intense physical feelings for each other it’s like they don’t even know what to do with themselves. It’s sort of scary but very beautiful.
Though in a many, many, many ways, The English Patient is tragic, it’s not completely devastating. It’s just a movie that has everything.
I remember pretty well when this movie came out. What I remember the most was my parents watching it and hating it. So as I grew older I really had no desire to see a movie, mostly set in the desert, that was horribly reviewed by my parents. I mean I think the desert is pretty but whenever I think of a desert I just want to fall asleep? It’s kind of a weird feeling, almost exactly like how I feel about malls.
Elizabeth had been wanting me to see this because it’s one of her favorites. And I have to say I really enjoyed it too. I thought the story was pretty interesting and an awesome surprise that Naveen Andrews was in it. I always thought this movie would be far too boring but it ended up being the opposite for me. It was compelling throughout.
Now, this isn’t a movie I feel like I really need to see again, only maybe with some commentary. But it’s a movie I’m glad Elizabeth brought to my attention, cause it was easily a movie I haven’t thought about since my parents watched it XX years ago.