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(1993)

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Touches places in the soul never dared to be reached before
wayne-11212 December 2003
Other reviews I have read here do a great job of summarizing the plot and key elements of this film. I just want to reiterate, first, how incredible the cast is. Working in a plot that demands attention to and awareness of subtleties, *every* actor, on down to the smallest part, puts forth flawless performances, and are directed brilliantly. If I was John Turturro, I'd have calmed it down a little, but if he did that, he wouldn't be John Turturro. :)

Isabella Rossellini is given the strongest role of her career (I mean, in *Blue Velvet*, she was scorching and daring, but she was played as a bit of an archetype and dream figure, and not as a woman struggling through a life crisis in quite so identifiable a way). Rather than fall prey to playing her role as an insensitive wife who doesn't understand the extraordinary passage her husband is undergoing, she is given the chance to really be a hero in her own right. She could *never* understand--but she tries to--and gives extraordinary credibility in a role of struggling to give what she can as Jeff Bridges' Max Klein hurtles himself into his obsessive self-made universe from his ordeal and survival. When it's clear she can no longer do that, she becomes a noble warrior to fight for her own sanity and that of her son. The procession of her character is flawless and every moment feels right.

The interplay between Rossellini and Rosie Perez is played out with unexpected honesty, restraint and brilliance. Perez' Carla has her own parallel situation, with a husband who completely can't understand why she won't exploit the situation for all she can get in court (a great early small performance from Benecio Del Torro). He is, like Rossellini, troubled by the bizarre and nonobvious intimacy that has developed between his wife and Jeff Bridges, two people whose lives might never have ordinarily crossed. Perez is, as has been mentioned elsewhere here, devastating. Her grief over the loss of her son is sustained and utterly utterly credible.

This brings us to Jeff Bridges. Man, oh man, this is his career masterpiece performance--arguably the greatest leading acting role of the 1990's. He *gets* what writer Rafael Yglesias and Peter Weir are narrowly aiming for here, and it's something no other movie has approached that I've seen. It is--the instantaneous and seemingly lifelong bond that develops between those who have been through a life-changing crisis, and how that can completely absorb them to the exclusion of *everything* else in their lives. What sounds like a subtle point here is **nailed** by Yglesias and Weir, and I can't imagine another actor who could have gotten what that feels like. I know from personal experience--mine was nothing like a plane crash--but the phenomenon that this movie ventures to explore that I just described, which may seem like mostly bizarre behavior shifts in Bridges' character to those who haven't experienced what I'm talking about--is in fact as real as love, fear, or passion itself. What Bridges realizes in putting together Max Klein is that he's *utterly* lucid--he feels as though he sees things as clearly as he ever has in his life and *never* wants to let that clarity go to revert to a more "rational" way to confront the trauma he has gone through.

Others have mentioned the "why didn't this get bigger press" issue. The studio was quite nervous that this was an art house movie and didn't promote it as heavily as they might have. It actually did quite well at the box office initially and early advocacy for Bridges and Weir to get Oscars were definitely out in the review stream, but this had the misfortune of being released *just* before a little movie called *Schindler's List*, which summarily grabbed the cinematic spotlight and completely eclipsed everything else at the Oscars.

Director Peter Weir himself considers this his greatest work and was greatly stung by what he considered the slight it was given by Hollywood and the public. In many ways it has shaped a cynicism towards Hollywood he has had ever since, and it would be five years before he'd find it in himself to direct another film.
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jeff bridges at his best
eht5y21 July 2004
Jeff Bridges has been called the most underrated actor of his generation, and 'Fearless' speaks to the truth of such a claim. Equally overlooked is Australian director Peter Weir, who, like Bridges, was snubbed by the Academy Awards for 'Fearless.' The film was almost totally ignored by the Academy, perhaps due to the fact that 1994 was the year of the historical/political epic--'Schindler's List,' 'In the Name of the Father,' and 'The Remains of the Day' were the big winners that year, casting a bit of a shadow over a film about a rich white American suffering from PTSD.

Based on the novel by Rafael Yglesias, 'Fearless' is the story of Max Klein, a successful San Francisco architect who survives a horrific plane crash. Among the casualties of the crash are Klein's partner and best friend and the only child of Carla (Rosie Perez), a young Puerto Rican woman from Oakland who blames herself for her son's death. Prior to the accident Max suffered from an acute fear of flying; when the plane goes down, his fear becomes so intense that he accepts death. When he survives the crash, he suffers from a form of post-traumatic stress syndrome in which he can no longer feel fear because subconsciously he has already faced death. His condition creates a rift between himself and his family, a gap he tries to fill through a friendship with Carla, who is similarly afflicted with PTSD.

Bridges gives a tour de force performance as Max, who is simultaneously heroic (he leads other passengers to safety believing he is guiding them out of the plane into heaven) and contemptible (he is unspeakably cruel to his family and leaves his wife temporarily to pursue a relationship with Carla).

He's not sure whether he's alive or dead, and he is frequently drawn to test his fear and uncertainty through ludicrously dangerous stunts like dancing on the edge of a skyscraper's roof or walking calmly into speeding traffic. It's an unflinching and emotionally honest portrayal of a psychologically damaged man unsure that he has the strength or will to be healed.

Equally stunning is Rosie Perez as Carla, a devout Catholic who believes that her baby's death is a punishment from God and is nursed back to normalcy by the agnostic Max.

Other supporting actors are also captivating: Isabella Rosselini as Max's wife Laura, who loves her husband desperately but is unable to cope with Max's alienation from her and their son Jonah; Tom Hulce as an overeager but well-meaning attorney suing the airline on behalf of Max, his partner's family, and Carla; John Turturro as a psychiatrist specializing in PTSD hired by the airline to help the survivors cope with the after-effects of the tragedy; and Benicio Del Toro as Carla's husband, a poor carpenter who can't help but feel giddy about the possibility of making millions off of his son's death. Perhaps most moving is Deirdre O'Connell as the widow of Max's partner--the scene in which Max arrives at her home to confirm that her husband did not survive the crash will break the hardest of hearts.

The film is brilliantly directed by Weir, who captures the surreal nature of Max's condition masterfully.

'Fearless' is not an easy film to get through, perhaps even moreso in the wake of 9/11. The subject matter is emotionally wrenching, and its presentation is utterly unsentimental. Max is heroic, but he is also a victim, and Bridges' performance captures the tension between Max's newfound love of life and his near-psychotic need to continually face and overcome his fears. It's a tear-jerker, and it's certainly haunted by the ghosts of the dead, but it's well-worth watching if only for the pleasure of seeing one of the best actors in the business at his best.
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great character study
rjnagle11 October 1999
I had heard about Fearless for a long time and was never in the right mind to see it. It's the story about how survivors of a plane crash cope with life afterwards, their neuroses, fears and personal demons. It is a quiet film, so quiet that one can barely hear the inner tremblings of the main character.

He is a survivor without fear. He has summoned up a supernatural lack of fear towards life and psychological health now that he has survived a plane accident. In times of crisis, he has the ability to block fear and to live on adrenalin alone. He has become in the eyes of the other plane passengers, a hero and an inspiration.

But even though this lack of fear is his saving grace, it is also threatening to jeopardize his life. He copes with the nightmares and emotional traumas with the same reaction that helped him along on that fateful day. But in real life, this way to cope is unhealthy and even dangerous. One must live afraid to be a normal person. One must worry about finances and loss of love.

The film is imperfect, as any great film should be. There are slow moments and perhaps a little too much pop psychology. (But the film is as subtle as it gets). There are marvelous character touches, such as a lawyer trying to file a lawsuit who keeps apologizing for his greediness. (The film exposes the genuine dilemmas of trying to compensate victims and their families).

Perhaps the most amazing scene is a reenactment of the plane crash itself. I won't give anything away about the story, but the scene is hauntingly beautiful; it shows the overwhelming force of the wind and the earth ripping apart the fusilade and all the parts of the luggage and cabin that humans normally deal with. It is a violent, horrifying scene and a horrifying memory, but for the main character, he can imagine it with the appropriate distance and without the pain. This accident was the defining moment for his life, and after that scene, we realize how amazing it is that he and the rest of them could have survived, and how fragile their life was in the face of overwhelming force.

This story imagines a disaster and how useless it is to be afraid of a force more powerful than any individual (and that is the main character's profound insight).
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10/10
A Character Study That Goes Beyond
jhclues9 November 2002
The inability to `reconnect' in the wake of a significant emotional event, especially one involving a close encounter with death, is examined by director Peter Weir, in `Fearless,' a gripping drama starring Jeff Bridges as a man emotionally adrift after walking away from an accident (a plane crash) that by all rights should have killed him, but inexplicably did not. And Weir goes on to take what is essentially a character study one step further, beyond the inevitable `why me?' that one who survives such an unimaginable episode in their life must necessarily make, to probe the psyche of the survivor and attempt to sort out the ensuing catch-22 of the mind, wherein the incident has manifested a schizophrenic sense of guilt/euphoria born of fate's decree that he, among those now dead, should live. It's a lot to assimilate; a taxing physical and psychological challenge necessitating an expanded utilization of the human capacity, and the subsequent negotiation of the attendant recast attitude and aptitude. All of which Weir succinctly captures through keen observation and his own intuitive grasp of the human condition.

As the film opens, we see Max Klein (Bridges) making his way through a cornfield just outside of Bakersfield, California; he's carrying a baby in his arms and has a young boy by the hand, leading him determinedly through the haze of smoke from the crash. There are others following Max, as well. And even before they emerge from the field, coming upon the crash site where rescue workers are already furiously attempting to sort it all out, there is a detachment about Max that is readily discernible. He surveys the situation calmly, as if seeing it all through the eyes of someone else, as if he were outside of himself, observing rather than experiencing. Then after locating the baby's mother, he simply walks away from it all, never looking back.

Two days later the F.B.I. finds him in a local motel. They put him together with a representative from the airline, who offers him a train ticket back home to San Francisco. But Max wants to fly home, which astounds the rep. `But your wife,' she says, `Told us that you didn't like to fly, even before the--' `The crash?' he replies. Then with assurance he tells her, `I want to fly home on your airline. But I have a request; I want to go first class.' And we know now, without question, that Max is not the same man that he was before the crash.

In his previous films, such as `Picnic At Hanging Rock' (1975), `Witness' (1985) and `The Mosquito Coast' (1986), Weir established himself as a director who knows human nature and is adept at exploring the emotional depths of his characters, in stories dealing with ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations. As he does with this film, Weir sets a deliberate pace and allows that extra moment that means so much to the development of the characters. It's a subtle approach that adds depth and resonance to his films, and allows his audience to experience, rather than just watch, the drama as it unfolds. And he understands (as few directors do-- especially Americans ) the impact that `silence' can have, as in the scenes here shortly after Max leaves the crash sight. First, Weir shows us a solemn Max, driving alone through the desert at high speed, gradually awakening to the joys of living, to that `feeling' of being alive, as he sticks his head out of the widow and lets the wind hit him in the face, slapping him with the reality that he is, indeed, alive. But then we see Max parked by the side of the road, sitting on the ground, pensively staring out at the vast expanse of desert and at the low, blue mountains in the distance. The absolute silence Weir effects allows us to share Max's thoughts at that moment, to get inside his head as he picks up a bit of dirt and examines it closely, then as he looks up again at the nothingness/everything that surrounds him. As Max reflects, we reflect with him; and in that precise moment, that necessary connection between Max and the audience is firmly established. It's a quiet, and brilliant, piece of filmmaking.

Through many years and many movies, Jeff Bridges has demonstrated time and again his consummate ability as an actor who can `touch' his audience, and he continues to evolve with every new film. Max is perhaps his most challenging role ever, as it requires a vast emotional range to make this character convincing and bring him to life believably. And Bridges succeeds magnificently, and on a number of levels, with an inspiring, Oscar worthy performance. The finesse with which he conveys his moods and emotions is extraordinary; he enables you to `feel' his displacement, share his compassion, sense his empathy and know his anger. Quite simply, Bridges makes Max Klein a character you are not going to forget.

As Laura Klein, Isabella Rossellini gives a remarkable performance, as well, as the wife given the gift of her husband's life, only to have to suffer his state of `limbo,' as she desperately attempts to penetrate the defense mechanisms that have given him a renewed appreciation for the touch, taste and beauty of life, all of which she is unable to share because his experience has taken him to a place she cannot possibly go. Her portrayal is astute, convincing and some of the best work she has ever done.

Also turning in a strong performance, for which she deservedly was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, is Rosie Perez, as Carla, a fellow crash survivor with whom Max forms an especially strong and significant bond.

Written for the screen by Rafael Yglesias (adapted from his own novel), beautifully filmed by Allen Davian, and with a haunting score by Maurice Jarre that so sensitively enhances the drama in an understated way, `Fearless' is an example of filmmaking at it's best.
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10/10
Criminally underrated
eonbluedan-11 January 2011
A CRIMINALLY unknown film, especially in the UK, where it is close to impossible to get hold of, this Peter Weir outing, with Jeff Bridges taking the lead, also boasts star turns from John Turturro, Isabella Rossalini, and Rosie Perez, the latter of whom received an Oscar nomination. Everybody is on top form in this perfectly executed, beautiful meditation on what it is to be a human being.

To explain all the subtext of "Fearless", all the symbolism, the various layers of allegory, would be an essay in itself; safe to say this is a film that sends you away reeling, thinking and talking about life for a long time. It sounds melodramatic, but when you see it, it makes perfect, serious sense.

I understand it received standing ovations when it premiered, and rightly so! Many have said in the past, and I'll say it as well, that the final 10 minutes of this film is pretty much the most powerful cinema I've seen. Jeff Bridges nails it, and I find myself inexplicably in tears each time. Trying to explain it is tough; it speaks to something fundamental in you, and is truly life-affirming, if you choose to listen. A film that proves cinema, when image, performance, music and meaning are meshed perfectly, is sometimes able to convey what nothing else can.
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10/10
More intimate than sex is sharing the moment of death
MrNoahTall19 February 2000
Someone told me once that this film was supposed to be about post-traumatic stress syndrome. That's like saying that 2001 was about how to eat in space.

This is a movie about the most intimate moment a person can ever share with others: The moment of his death. The character Max (played by Bridges) is confronted with it, and his experience is ours.

This movie, for me, is best viewed alone, with no distractions whatsoever. One of the more powerful sublime moments in the film for me is when Max is merely sitting next to his rental car in the desert, making mud from his own spit. He sees it in a new way. And thus he sees the world. To a degree, so did I.
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9/10
Great Performance by Bridges in an Amazing Film
chaps320 December 2008
This was a superb film. The actors were uniformly excellent. Jeff Bridges delivers one of his many outstanding, understated performances and should have had an Oscar nomination for this role. While I truly enjoy and respect Tom Hanks, Bridges' performance far surpassed Hanks' that year and Philadelphia was a mediocre movie at best.

The screenplay for Fearless was imaginative and original. I have never seen a story like it. Every scene in the film felt natural and real. The psychological thru-lines were utterly believable and no moment was over played or exploited. Every scene played as the most logical event based on the actions that came before it.

The characters, down to the smallest bit parts, were real and sympathetic. There were no good guys and bad guys. Each character, even the lawyer, had depth, multiple dimensions and valid reasons for their behavior. This was not the shallow Hollywood blockbuster designed to bring in the biggest box office possible. It was a thoughtful, often painful and sometimes exhilarating examination of normal people reacting to the most extreme of circumstances.

One technical note. The soundtrack on my disc was very muddy. I had to turn the sound up much higher than I usually do and yet there were still some lines of dialog that I could not make out. Still this was an outstanding under-appreciated film that deserves to be seen and experienced by a wide audience.
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9/10
One of the few films that in the end brought on a full-fledged catharsis
GMJames11 April 2001
When I first saw "Fearless" in a movie theater, I believe there were about 20 to 30 other moviegoers in the theater on a weekday afternoon. It was in it's second week in theaters. After the credits rolled, I heard a lot of weeping from the small but vocal audience.

Maybe the film flopped because some people expected a 1970's-style disaster flick with cardboard characters, laughable dialog and unknown extras & doubles performing dangerous stunts.

It's been almost eight years since watching "Fearless" for the first time. This is one of only 5 movies I actually own in my very small tape library.

Director Peter Weir amazes me. With a few exceptions (I didn't like "Dead Poets Society" and I haven't seen "Green Card"), he has always walked on a tightrope when it comes to telling a story. It might not result in a "satisfying" ending but when you think about what was presented two hours earlier, it makes a lot of sense. It's a logical and very fascinating progression.

I believe that Jeff Bridges can (almost) do no wrong. His character may not be very likable but put yourself in his character's shoes and you may understand the reasons why he believes that he is "fearless".

I haven't seen Isabella Rossellini's performance in "Blue Velvet" but it makes me wonder if her performance in that film beats her role as the caring but very confused wife of Jeff Bridges' character. She's definitely the heart of "Fearless". I cared for her. I felt empathy; her confusion of what her husband was doing to himself, her family and herself. She's on the outside trying her best to understand what it was like to survive a plane crash. But at the same time, not totally understanding what it was like to be on the ill-fated flight. Rossellini gave a glowing performance.

Rosie Perez's performance as the distraught woman who lost her young son in the crash was incredible. Unlike some people in this world, I do like Perez (thick Spanish accent and all). What really impressed me was how she captured the depth of losing her child. There have been some films & TV movies that have captured the effects of a family losing a spouse or adult child. There haven't been as many to deal with the loss of a child as well as "Fearless" did. Perez hasn't had a role with this much depth in a long time. I was pleasantly surprised when she received an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress, the movie's only nomination.

The unrequited bond between Bridges' and Perez's characters was fascinating to watch. They survived something that their love ones will never understand. In the end, the two need to understand that despite their losses, they are still alive in this world and somehow they need to find a way to get back to reality.

Screenwriter Rafael Yglesias, who wrote the novel, captured the complexity of crash survivors almost flawlessly. One weak link: John Turturro had the thankless job of playing the underwritten role of the psychiatrist.

When a film like "Fearless" even inspires a music video (Brian McKnight's "Back At One"), then you know that this movie will have a lasting effect and with cable, VHS & DVD, it'll never be forgotten. I certainly haven't forgotten it.
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9/10
A Boundless Interpretation of an All-Encompassingly Utilitarian Philosophy
jzappa4 October 2009
Fearless is a fascinating movie about the thin line between fear and rationality. Fear is so much more difficult to overpower, or even sometimes be conscious of, than reason that when we do overpower fear, it is not necessarily replaced by reason, but by exhilarating mania. Jeff Bridges, in one of his best performances, covers a lot of ground in his character, a survivor of a plane crash. Many die, including his business partner. The catastrophe metamorphoses his whole life thereafter. He enters an enhanced perceptive condition, believing he is dead, beginning to rethink life, death, God and the afterlife.

Bridges becomes addicted to walking a tightrope over death because it makes him feel as alive and enlightened as he possibly can. But this also dwindles his connection to his family and his life. He begins to have difficulty recognizing the limits of mortality, in some way perceiving himself as more than mere flesh and blood. Rosie Perez, however, in a performance equaling Bridges' in personal reconciliation with her role, plays another survivor, whose baby son she failed to protect from death by the crash. In her own aftermath, she is the unmistakable foil to Bridges' expansive superman complex as a mother who loses all will to live.

The two find themselves bonding, sharing a connection that transcends the love we tend to understand, or that Isabella Rossellini, as Bridges' wife, and Benicio Del Toro, as Perez's husband, tend to understand. And as Bridges begins to reach the dangerous peak of his high on existence, Perez is forced to make amends with the world, taking control of shaping herself. The film is a boundless interpretation of an all-encompassingly utilitarian philosophy, a kind of precept that amalgamates the black and white duality of unflappable idealism and hopeless despair.

There are peripheral nebbishy professionals played in bit parts by a gregarious Tom Hulce and John Turturro who has as a virtually futile psychologist-for-hire a sort of ironic missionary zeal. We hear Gorecki's beautiful major string orchestra sound. But the film would not have the same kind of clarity, or perhaps even the same themes, without the articulately detailed cinematic expression of Rafael Yglesias' material by the director, Peter Weir.
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10/10
"Not dead to alive"
etrosper2 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Most films are entertainment fast food. Some give you a positive momentary taste. Very few films give you spiritual nourishment that you can savor for years to come. Fearless (1993) is such a film. I hope someday there will be a DVD package worthy of such a courageous and moving experience. Assuming the brilliance of all involved, especially Peter Weir (director), Rafael Yglesisas (Writer), and all of the actors, this profound viewing experience changed how I look at life. One very perceptive friend described the plot as a journey from "not dead" to "alive." Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) makes such a journey, but not alone, even if he thinks to the contrary. This is also one of the best depictions of marriage on screen. The scenes between Bridges and Isabella Rosselini really crackle with emotion and intensity. It's rare to see a marital conflict where you can sympathize and even empathize with both characters. That is a tribute to Isabella and the writing/directing. Also successful (though not as universal) is the strange relationship between Max and Carla (Rosie Perez). Nice atypical work from John Turturro, Benecio Del Toro, and Tom Hulce provides some much-needed humor.

Also, this film avoids dwelling on the simple psychological clichés of PTSD and survivor guilt. Instead of talking about it, the viewer sees, feels and experiences it. This is a rare gem of film history and one of the most overlooked movies in history. Here's hoping that changes soon.
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10/10
This Film Left Me Speechless
amadeusrye23 May 2003
This is an incredible film! Peter Weir once again proves that he is a genius director. The cast is also brilliant. I can't believe that the film didn't get any recognition for its achievements. If you like this film watch other movies directed by Weir like, "The Truman Show", "Dead Poet's Society", "Mosquito Coast", or "Green Card".
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A transcendental blending of music and film.
Gary-12815 July 1999
None of us can view a movie objectively apart from the sum of who we are. Having a classical music background, I am always keyed into a film's use of music. Fearless reminds me that the combination of music and film is an art form which has been sadly neglected in modern culture and trashed by MTV. This movie is high art. The final sequence is emotionally and spiritually a transcending experience, illustrating the bittersweet reality of human existence. An experience not available through words, music, or images on their own. I cried like a baby. Movies tend to be built upon a setup and a payoff. Tension and release are the common currency for most art. I have never seen a better cinematic payoff than the one Fearless provides. And that's because the setup is flawless. There is endless brilliance here in the telling of the story. Don't miss the use of light. Light flashing across Max's face when death is at the door; in the plane and the car scene with Carla.(If possible, Fearless might have been even more effective in black and white.) The subtle transition to slow motion during the scene with Carla and the baby at the mall. Jeff Bridges is irresistible in this performance. His character has been translated out of the realm of corporeal perspective.(As demonstrated through his allergy to strawberries.) When he walks through the plane and assures the passengers that everything will be fine, I believed him. His appearance is almost a religious experience. But his serenity cannot last. He must be reborn into the frailties of human existence or he will be estranged from the world. And that is the payoff. The glorious payoff in which death in an airplane crash becomes a poetic vision of the human experience. We live, we die, but we imbue the universe with a greater purpose even if there is no god to acknowledge it. I hope history will judge this movie to be a classic, unappreciated in it's time. This is Peter Weir's masterpiece. It's hard for me to believe that he could follow this effort with the extremely banal and uninspiring "Truman Show" But I suppose even Mozart had off days.
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9/10
Descriptions don't do it justice
diannejohanss10 May 2008
This film seems trivialized by descriptions or quotes, because its power comes from the blend of the acting, cinematography, score, etc. All the elements are outstanding, but the total is so much more than the parts. I feel like I'm inside, inhabiting the characters when I watch "Fearless." The defining event the movie revolves around--a plane crash--seems inspired by an actual plane crash (I think it was in Sioux City) in which the plane rolled over in a corn field several times. Aside from the horrific manner in which it crashed, the accident was noteworthy because so many passengers survived, in some cases literally walking away.

I read that Peter Weir got involved in this project by asking the studio to let him see any properties that they felt could not be made into a movie (this would seem to fit the bill). After seeing the movie I was moved to read the book, but I believe the film is better. No matter how many times I watch it, the result of this material in Peter Weir's hands never loses its power for me.

The post-crash impact on Max's relationship with his wife—and the formation of relationships with other survivors--is an important aspect of the movie: The survivors bond through this shared experience, while their families feel shut out and don't (or won't) understand the power this connection has for their loved ones. This plot element is the only bit that seems off to me, as if it's both too much and too little to effectively advance the film (perhaps due to editing/time constraints?) Jeff Bridges is always worth watching, though his acting is so subtle and natural that I always forget I'm watching him, and that he's acting. But Rosie Perez's performance is a real standout; she should have won the Oscar she was nominated for. While I identified with her role as a mother of a small child (my own son was the same age as "Bubbles" when I first saw the film), her performance itself seemed fearless, as if she stripped her soul and emotions naked in this role. "Fearless" is unforgettable.
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Peerless
tarolinta4 April 2003
This movie like no other made me feel emotions that are too deep to put into words. I completely agree with the many comments about how cathartic and brilliant this film is. Why on earth did the Motion Picture Academy give the film and its' amazing director Peter Weir so little recognition? I suppose Schindlers' List was the on voters' minds that year(rightfully so, it too is a masterpiece), and Tom Hanks' fine performance in Philadelphia was most certainly appreciated by the actor community, to help the world understand what was happening right under their noses, we need to fight AIDS and stop denying the humanity of those who suffer from it. But I read an earlier comment on Fearless from someone who felt this movie portrayed loss, grief and fear better than any gay or AIDS-theme movie ever. This blows me away, because Tom Hanks received an Oscar for playing a gay man dying of AIDS, yet Jeff Bridges wasn't even nominated for his completely amazing portrayal of a crash survivor; Rosie Perez was the only actor from this movie to receive an Oscar nomination (she, too, was brilliant). The last scene in the movie had me sobbing unbelievably, and I've seen it twice before. The story, the characters, the music and the locations are all woven together by Mr Weir into the most beautiful, comprehensive depiction of what it means to live, breathe and feel that I have ever seen.
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8/10
To love life, it helps to lose it
hylinski1 January 2010
Peter Weir is unique in his ability to convey the niceties of life with authenticity. Jeff Bridges is the master of the theatrical understatement. A plane crash creates a untenable level of fear in the mind anyone who has stood next to one and pondered that fate.Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No 3 creates an overwhelming sense of sadness. Fearless benefits from all these things, as well as a strong supporting cast.

I cannot watch this movie without being buffeted emotionally. I know many film lovers prefer a more concrete plot and less tugging at the heartstrings. They should turn to a different page now.

Fearless is a gem for anyone else.

I hasten to add America, the Peter Weir was only on loan, and we want him back in Australia.
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10/10
Truly Wonderful Movie, read the book too
dmc3de5 December 2001
First off, if you've seen the movie, and it is a wonderful one at that, I strongly urge you to read the novel by Rafael Yglesias. The book is 3 times much better than the movie, and the movie itself was wonderful. Peter Weir has always managed to make movies that make people in general, "Think." Remember "Dead Poets Society", "Truman Show"? This movie is no different. It tells a lot about immortality, and how fragile life can be, and how people react differently to traumatic situations. With what's happened in the last few months, this movie hits that much closer to home. A truly epic classic.
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10/10
Perfection
cattyfinns17 November 2003
In short, this film is emotionally devastating. I cried for an hour after seeing it and have never been so wrecked by a movie - ever! Performances are all nothing short of brilliant and the music is perfect. The end just leaves me completely undone. One of my top 3 movies of all time. The scene with Rosie Perez as a grieving mother inhaling the aroma of a baby's hair as he is carried past her, kills me.

10 out of 10.
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10/10
Incredibly intense
Boyo-230 December 1998
This is a great movie that never found much of an audience. Jeff Bridges should have been Oscar-nominated for his work here. Some scenes are extremely difficult to watch, but you will never forget a lot of them. Also fantastic are Rosie Perez and Benicio Del Toro. The crash scenes are so realistic, that it is unthinkable that people actually did go through similar ordeals.
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Peter Weirs greatest film (?)
junior_johnson17 September 2004
This movie really spoke to me. I find it hard to say whether or not is good or bad. Peter Weirs films have a way of communicating intense emotion to me, although not all are quite so good- I watched all of the disappointing Dead Poets society, and only felt this emotion in one scene- where the boy commits suicide. A powerful scene. In 'picnic at hanging rock' I felt this intense emotion a few times, especially with that shot of the girls disappearing.

I had wanted to see Fearless for a number of years and was not disappointed. I have never seen a film in my life that affected me so much. But hey, you might watch this and feel nothing. It is about human emotion, about the meaning of life and our mortality. If you care about these then I would guess this film would say something to you.

If you feel like an outsider, like an alien drifting amongst strangers, this is the film for you. If you dream of enlightenment, take pleasure in the simple intensity of the moment this is the film for you also. IMHO, is not just Peter Weirs greatest film, I feel it is one of the greatest films I have seen.
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9/10
Intense and harrowing, beautiful and heart rending
TheLittleSongbird7 March 2010
From Peter Weir comes a truly wonderful film, that is intense and harrowing, beautiful and heart rending. It does drag in the middle half, and John Turturo's part is underwritten, but this is a remarkable film. The crash scenes are certainly very harrowing, but it is in the performances, music score and direction that Fearless really soars. The script is surprisingly intelligent, the story and its themes is compelling and the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Fearless is brilliantly directed as is usually the case with Weir, and the score is one of the most haunting and emotional scores I have ever heard in a film, and I have heard a lot of them. The performances though are pretty much outstanding, bringing to life complex characters. Jeff Bridges is in my opinion a very underrated actor, and certainly a talented one. Here he gives one of his best performances as a man who is thrilled by the fact that he survived death and is convinced he is immortal. Isabella Rossellini is also remarkable as the loving wife, and Tom Hulce is fine as the well meaning attorney. And despite his underwritten role, John Turturo does what he can. But for me, the best performance came from Rosie Perez, she was truly captivating and absolutely believable as the mother who lost her young child and now completely overwhelmed by guilt and pain. Fearless isn't a very easy film to get into first time, it is emotionally heart wrenching and I think ambitious as well, the ending is proof of that. Overall, a wonderful film, minor flaws abundant but a film that deserves more recognition. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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9/10
Amazing ambiguity
Panterken2 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
'Peter Weir', best known by my generation of movie fans for 'The Truman Show', indisputably creates a valiant masterpiece with the highly emotionally engaging yet cranial drama 'Fearless', dealing with a man (Bridges) forcing himself to close the gap between his physical living existence and his soul/mind that already accepted death meanwhile endeavoring to cope with the the realization that life is insufferably dual. This duality lies in the joy of 'mundane' life (mainly his wife and child) and the divine pleasure of the orgasmic fearlessness running through his veins after his mental acceptance of death. He can't balance both, he is unable to revive himself from his coma-like status - ghost like would be more accurate since he is quite the opposite of paralyzed, he's immortal - and the savior (he saves people after a plane crash) ironically needs to be saved himself. He eventually is in a very touching scene in the end, shouting 'I'm alive' at the top of his lungs as he is freed from the agony of being mentally dead, a scene paralleled with the last puzzle piece of the crash events and accompanied by a marvelous musical piece. A mighty scene!

The above is only a small dip of my pen in the ink pool of thoughts this movie provides for, please see this movie for your own sake!
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9/10
Peter Weir's most overlooked film
MoneyMagnet27 June 2007
Peter Weir consistently produces interesting, well-told films and so he has become sort of de facto my favorite director. Fearless is one of his very best, but it is an oddly overlooked film and perhaps that is because of the challenging and very strange world it takes place in -- a spiritual no man's land between life and death, in which Max (Jeff Bridges) is stranded after a plane crash.

If you have ever been lost and spiritually searching (haven't we all?) or feel out of step with the world, you will instantly recognize the otherworldly setting of this marvelous film and will relate to Max and Carla (Rosie Perez). This is a movie about our real, spiritual lives.

This is a rare film with "deep" and challenging themes which somehow manages to not be off-puttingly artsy, and features great and humane performances right across the board, from Bridges and Perez, to Isabella Rosselini as Max's gutsy wife, and Tom Hulce, Benicio del Toro and John Turturro as all-too-worldly characters.

I would have preferred that the ending be left ambiguous; however, the ending we do get is perfectly satisfying in dramatic terms.
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Exceptional
yoyomagoo2 April 2004
Fearless is a film about how one event can change lives forever. It's a film about hope, about those who bring it and lose it, a film about love and ultimately a film about the kindness of strangers.

Jeff Bridges is Max Klein, a victim of a horrific air crash that kills his best friend. However, he emerges from the accident a changed man, believing he has found a previously lost spirituality. He is no longer allergic to strawberries, something that nearly killed him as a child, for example. From here, he helps others come to terms with their loss, including Rosie Perez's Calrla.

Peter Weir is probably one of the best filmmakers currently working. He has yet to make a bad film, and even struggles to make mediocre ones. However, Fearless is something a cut above his usual high standard. Posing genuinely thought-provoking questions, yet never didactic or vague, Fearless makes you reconsider your own actions and their affect on other people.

The cast is uniformly excellent, with Bridges and Rosselini (as his wife) particularly good. Perez's much maligned Carla is solid enough. Look out for an early, rather excellent performance by Benecio Del Toro, too.

The film ends on an incredibly moving note. Incredibly beautiful and true, Fearless should be considered,a long with Gilliam's The Fisher King, one of the most overlooked gems of modern times.
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10/10
One of the few truly remarkable American nineties' films
sydan8 September 2001
The Finnish Broadcasting Company just ran Fearless again, and for me it was the fourth or fifth time to see the film since -93. This is definitely a film to return to from time to time. Its effect is one of cathartic resolution, to say the least! ;-) Jeff Bridges' (one of my all time favorites) work has once again to be praised, as is the case With Rosie Perez. Isabella Rossellini does a brilliant job, far better than the usual consensus of filing her role as "cold and distant"! Peter Weir, an outstanding director, an 'outsider' with an insight. Not to forget the genius of Maurice Jarre's music!!!
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10/10
Enthralling
Max_8619 June 2001
Jeff Bridges is extremely underated, and the fact that this film bombed in the box office just goes to show that. His performance in this film really should have got him an oscar or at least a golden globe but he was overlooked. Rosie Perez as the fellow passenger on the airplane gives a heartwrenching performance. Watching this film is emotionally draining. I was shaking at the end of it and crying uncontrollably, and not many films will provoke such a reaction from me. I give it an A+++++++++++
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