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Dying Young (1991)

R | | Drama, Romance | 21 June 1991 (USA)
A nurse falls in love with a terminally ill man.

Director:

Joel Schumacher

Writers:

Marti Leimbach (novel), Richard Friedenberg (screenplay)
Reviews
3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julia Roberts ... Hilary O'Neil
Campbell Scott ... Victor Geddes
Vincent D'Onofrio ... Gordon
Colleen Dewhurst ... Estelle Whittier
David Selby ... Richard Geddes
Ellen Burstyn ... Mrs. O'Neil
Dion Anderson ... Cappy
George Martin ... Malachi
A.J. Johnson ... Shauna
Daniel Beer ... Danny
Behrooz Afrakhan ... Moamar
Michael Halton Michael Halton ... Gordon's Friend
Larry Nash Larry Nash ... Assistant
Alex Trebek ... Host of Jeopardy
Richard Friedenberg ... Jeopardy Contestant
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Storyline

After she discovers that her boyfriend has betrayed her, Hilary O'Neil is looking for a new start and a new job. She begins to work as a private nurse for a young man suffering from blood cancer. Slowly, they fall in love, but they always know their love cannot last because he is destined to die. Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

She's giving him something nobody else could. A reason to live.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 June 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Todo por amor See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,725,885, 23 June 1991

Gross USA:

$33,669,178

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$82,264,675
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first artwork that Victor Geddes shows Hilary O'Neil, and the picture shown as the film's final frame, is Gustav Klimt's unfinished oil on canvas painting "Adam and Eve" (c. 1917-18). See more »

Goofs

Snow covers the ground the night of the big party in Mendocino, and the roads are frozen over with ice. The next morning, the snow and ice have disappeared from the landscape. See more »

Quotes

Victor Geddes: [to Hilary] Call me insane, but I'd venture a guess that Gordon would like to warm you up in any way possible.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Alien from L.A. (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY
Written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A film that takes off -- but forgets how to fly
28 February 2007 | by Irisheyes0717See all my reviews

To put it simply, the opening third of this film is intense. Quite intense. Campbell Scott's Vincent is a tortured young man who only wants to live enough to prepare himself for death. Julia Roberts' Hillary is essentially her Vivian from Pretty Woman (I hope everyone who sees this film is as unimpressed as I was with the shameless allusion to Pretty Woman when Hillary steps off the bus in -- gasp -- a red suit), but it suits the film well. But the passionate acting from Roberts, yes, but mostly Scott absolutely rends one's heart. When Hillary declares that she thought "this guy was going to die," the audience is right there with her. Scott's performance is so rare and so special during these opening minutes because he is not self-pitying. He is aware of his disease, and he's trying to fight it. He's beyond emotional pain, and as he struggles through the physical pain, we start to feel it too. By the time Victor announces that his treatment is finished and he's ready for a vacation, the audience is ready for one too--it's really too much to watch a character we're instantly so attracted to come so close to death so many times.

However, with the change of scenery comes a change of momentum. This is not surprising considering how emotional the opening third of the movie is--I'm not sure any movie could sustain that degree of intensity for the length of a feature film. Sadly though, the couple's time in the beach house becomes, as one critic put it, a kind of music video which features long shots of "endearing" moments between the two main characters. I would have liked to see more *real* discussions, interactions, etc. between the two than the endless close-ups of their pretty faces. The townsfolk are superfluous--essentially they're stock characters, cut-outs of real people that serve no real purpose in the film. Vincent D'Onofrio's Gordon is the most confusing character of all. He seems to have some sort of flirtation with Hillary, but this is never developed, explained, or resolved. A shame, as it could have added more drama to a section of the film that was sorely lacking in any sort of dramatic effect.

The ending of the movie isn't bad, but it never quite recovers the momentum of the earlier section. However, I find that no matter how much I dislike the middle part of the film, I keep thinking about the film as a whole, and really really liking it. If you're prone to it, this film will probably make you cry. If you're not interested in tears, it's still worth watching because at the very least it will make you appreciate how lucky you are to not be going through what Vincent goes through--not having to make the decisions or sacrifices he makes each day.

I recommend watching it at least once and forming your own opinion.


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