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copyright ©1999-2001

flick pick | Fearless 1993
Directed by : Peter Weir
Written by : Rafel Yglesias
Starring : Jeff Bridges, Isabella Rossellini, Rosie Perez, Tom Hulce, John Turturro, Benicio del Toro
Language: English
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The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: / 5 

Plot synopsis On a routine business trip flight from San Francisco to Houston, architect and flying-phobe Max Klein’s worst fear comes true: his plane crashes. Miraculously, Max not only survives, but comes away with the revelation that he’s faced death, and amazingly enough, felt no fear. He even becomes a hero of sorts, when his miraculous calmness in the midst of the chaos allows him to help many of his fellow passengers find their way safely out of the plane wreck. Back home with his family, Max is a completely changed man, no longer afraid of anything, and both his wife Laura and his young son are no longer certain how to interact with him. The airline-appointed psychiatrist tells Laura that Max is experiencing post-traumatic-stress disorder, the feelings of invulnerability a symptom of his refusal to acknowledge what’s really happened, but for the first time in his life, Max feels fully and truly alive. Several months later, the doctor has been able to help nearly all of the survivors begin to move on with their lives, but two remain unreachable: Max, who claims his life is better than ever, and Carla, a young mom who’s consumed with guilt that she wasn’t able to save her baby boy when the plane went down. In an attempt to help both, the psychiatrist introduces Max to Carla. An instant bond develops between them, and Max helps Carla learn to live her life again. But while Max may be Carla’s savior, his marriage and family life are disintegrating, as his frustrated wife begins to lose her patience with the stranger that her husband has become.

Review I have no idea what it’s like to be in a plane crash, and frankly, I hope never, ever to know firsthand, but the opening scenes of Fearless, in which Jeff Bridges is floating around in a haze after having not only survived the crash but actually led his fellow survivors to safety, are so strangely vivid and jarring, so dreamily disorienting, that you feel a little like you’ve been right there on the flight along with Max Klein. It’s surreal and unsettling and beautiful, and you feel an immediate bond with Jeff Bridges’ architect, so much so that even when later, you want to slap him for ruining his relationship with both his wife and son, you still kind of sympathize with his character – he’s not just another jerk who refuses to communicate with those who love him most. Fearless isn’t a disaster movie, although it begins with a tragic plane crash. It’s not about the melodrama of what happens when the unimaginable takes place, but about the quietness of what happens afterwards, when people let go of the traumas and move on, embracing the ordinary wonder of normal life. Jeff Bridges is terrific as Max -- he’s a bit of swagger mixed with a core of true kindness, and it’s both funny and sad that his complete forthrightness is the very thing that makes it so hard for those around him to understand him. And Rosie Perez’s devastated young mom is just perfect, her pain so real that it’s palpable. There’s not a hint of overacting in her performance, which is what makes her character so heartbreakingly touching. There’s plenty of emotion, but no sentimentality, and it’s a wonderful feeling that carries through the entirety of Fearless. Though the film’s pacing does seem somewhat off near the end – there’s a fairly contrived scene in the mall with Max and Carla that seems to drag things out longer than necessary– Fearless is still extraordinary. —reviewed by Y. Sun   

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