Movies,TV Shows »Hysterical Blindness

directed by Mira Nair

Hysterical Blindness, a 1980’s set HBO version of a Lifetime movie could have been nothing but hairspray and bad accents, but to every one’s credit involved, it’s a surprisingly nuanced, and touching portrayal of two party girls past their prime, standing guard at a local dive bar, waiting desperately for romance to change their Bayonne, New Jersey lives.

Uma Thurman is transforming as Debby, a character interestingly enough portrayed by the great Amy Ryan in the original 1997 Laura Cahill theatrical production. She contorts her exceptional beauty into a woman so needy and spastic that you wince as she awkwardly rockets around the screen between cigarettes, tears, freak outs and blow jobs. Juliette Lewis, Gena Rowlands, and Ben Gazzara all of whom are always, without exception, excellent round out the dream cast.

While it all ends a little too much on the cute side, it’s nice to see these women, icons of ironic tackiness and stereotype get a little happiness, whether in the form of new living room furniture or front yard parties all summer. And speaking of ironic tackiness, there is much here for thrift store shopping hipsters to get excited about: Shredded heavy metal tees, acid washed paint on jeans, spandex mini skirts, and lots of cheap rings.

I saw this when it first aired several years ago but recently felt the urge to revisit. I’m glad I did.

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Posted on January 10, 2011

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