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Love over 50 is a rare thing in movies unless it’s geriatric and played for sentimentality, but relationships with people past their thirties is well, almost non-existent, so to come upon a film that caters to such might be considered a find. So here is Blind, a story that does feature a man and a woman in their fifties engaging in a love affair, but the film itself is a tragic misfire that wallows in mediocrity and cliché, unable to make good on the promise of its premise.
Starting off like a clone of Wall Street with some insider trading news that turns sour, we meet Mark (Dylan McDermott), a businessman who ends up in jail for crossing the line. Collateral damage to his busted scheme is his wife Suzanne (Demi Moore), who has grown very accustomed to the wealthy lifestyle and just barely skirts jail time on her own, instead, sentenced to community service. Her punishment? Read to a partially blind professor named Bill (Alec Baldwin) who needs help assessing his student’s papers. He’s a typical raging wildfire who belittles most who gets in his path, but finds something different about Suzanne, and the two, who naturally are at odds at the start, fall into bed. There’s also Kyle (John-Michael Lyles), a student who desires to be a writer and obsesses over Bill in hopes of learning how to grow.
Directed by Michael Mailer, Blind is a properly manufactured story that will be familiar to most who know the genre, doling out predictable from frame one. It has a genuine old school feel about it, like a late night cable movie from the early 90s, but doesn’t try too hard to push any envelopes, instead comfortable in its simple excesses and tried and true formulas. At one point, Suzanne shaves the scruffy Bill with a straight razor and you can practically hear the director off camera gushing over the romance of it all. But this is just one in a slew of uncomfortable moments that never quite ring true, from Suzanne’s late night confession while walking along the river with Bill about her dream to live in Paris, to Mark’s cardboard cutout of a neglectful and cruel husband, even if McDermott puts everything he’s got into it. It all fits together because it’s a puzzle with few pieces assembled hundreds of times before.
There is, of course, potential in all of it, with the relationship of Bill and Suzanne one that might have been better explored. Baldwin and Moore, who worked together twenty years ago in Brian Gibson‘s The Juror, are a good looking duo and props to them both for giving the material some flirty fun. They spend a lot of time walking and chatting and there’s an honest feel about them that is levied by the performances. When Baldwin lets go of being Baldwin and allows himself to be soft, there’s some real spark here. Unfortunately, it’s all overwrought and often too contrived to have the impact it deserves. More so, the subplot with Kyle is all but forgotten, despite some good work from Lyles.
Never really knowing what it wants to be, the tonal shifts and diverging plots of Mark versus Bill and Suzanne ultimately make Blind an uneven experience. Boosted by a nice jazzy score by Dave Eggar and Sasha Lazard, this is one romance that can’t see its way to anything with heart.
Movie description: Blind is a 2017 romantic drama about a novelist blinded in a car crash that killed his wife who rediscovers his passion for both life and writing when he embarks on an affair with the neglected wife of an indicted businessman.
Director(s): Michael Mailer
Actor(s): Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, Dylan McDermott
Genre: Drama, Romance