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At First Sight

6.02 h 8 min1999PG-13
At First Sight is the story of a young woman architect who falls in love with a blind man. She encourages him to undergo a radical operation to restore his sight, but ultimately his truest vision comes from the love he finds in his heart.
Irwin Winkler
Val KilmerMira SorvinoKelly McGillis
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Bruce DavisonNathan LaneSteven Weber
Irwin WinklerRob Cowan
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.5 out of 5 stars

187 global ratings

  1. 75% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 13% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Mysticman9Reviewed in the United States on January 22, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Cinematic Perfection
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Wow a heart-centered, deeply moving portrait of a blind man and the woman who loves him, brought together by fate, and the real, raw emotions intertwined between their passionate romance combined with the challenges, expectations and frustrations of Virgil's long journey to see again. To me, this is a profoundly spiritual film as it explores the depths of the human experience: the underlying desire to be needed, to be accepted as you truly are (even when others want to change something about you), the desire to please those around you, the pain of their sometimes-selfish expectations of you, how that can be highly confusing to someone still building their confidence and trust in people, and the ultimate journey to total self acceptance. Powerful writing and acting, and the scene where Virgil (Val Kilmer) acknowledges his sister's incredible won't spoil it, but wow. So beautiful. I love this film, and the deep, poetic sensual nature of what it means to be fully awake in this world, even if your eyes don't work, and how so many people are asleep throughout their lives was brilliantly demonstrated. There is such a purity and innocence to Virgil, and how he changes people when he's in his authentic self, but when he tries to be someone else (inauthentic), it always meets with the same result. Such is life. Beautiful, soul stirring film. Never gets old. Thank you filmmakers and actors for this gem, and to the beautiful people who actually lived this story! God bless you
13 people found this helpful
KristenReviewed in the United States on August 5, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
What Did I Just Watch??
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This movie is so terrible. I'm struggling to even find the words to accurately describe how bad it is. Every copy should be burned, never to be watched again. I didn't look into it. It was recommended by Amazon because I like romantic movies. This movie is NOT romantic. It opens with the female lead taking a break from work and ends up on the massage table of the male lead. He is so creepy and inappropriate. Somehow she's totally fine with this perverted masseur and a relationship develops. I'm not very familiar with Val Kilmer's work but the acting in this is cringy. He gives off the vibes of a perverted Peeping Tom. His character is a total jerk blind and after his pathetically portrayed miracle surgery gives him sight. This movie is sleazy, it's inaccurate, it's cringy and so many other bad things. There is absolutely nothing good here. As far as what age, this is definitely not appropriate for family viewing. They use G** d**n and Jesus Christ over and over. The intimacy is over the top and completely gross and to help the newly-sighted Val Kilmer, his therapist takes him to a strip club. Please pass on this one.
5 people found this helpful
CHaHaReviewed in the United States on August 23, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Val Kilmer shines in a terrible movie
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Having just watched Val on Prime, I decided to watch a few of Kilmer's movies that I haven't seen before. I thought this would be a great one as it's pitched as a romantic movie featuring Kilmer. The movie is over 20 years old now and I don't recall times being as cringey as they were portrayed in the film. Not to mention the despicable attitude towards disabilities portrayed by many characters in the film.

Kilmer portrays a blind man, living in small town, working as a massage therapist at a local spa facility while under the watchful care of his older sister who lives near his home. There is an incredible ick factor when it comes to the relationship between the two coming mostly from the actress playing his sister. She doesn't seem to be able to portray sisterly love convincingly and I'm sorry to say it felt almost incestuous. When she first appeared on the scene I imagined she was an ex wife, not a doting sister.

Overall, I think Kilmer did a great job portraying a blind man but as a massage therapist, well I never had a massage like the ones he offered back in the late 90's. I imagine it was for the theatrics of the film but even if he was a hot blind guy and a masseuse started massaging my upper legs the way he did in the film, I'd had jumped off the table and ended the session. No professional boundaries. Totally unbelievable.

There are few likable characters in the film if any at all. The eventual girl friend is shallow and disrespectful of the disabled. At first, she was moved by the intimacy and emotional depth of feeling she experienced with her blind new love interest. Instead of trying to embrace who he is and accept that blindness is a part of what makes him, him... she crams potentially life changing surgery down his throat. He eventually opts to take her suggestion and the doctors portrayed in the movies come across as unethical, clowns lacking the foresight to anticipate some of the challenges Kilmer will face after the procedure.

During the film, the girlfriend, despite having been so moved by Kilmer's emotional tenderness, flirts with and smooches her smarmy, sexist, egomaniac ex-husband while involved with Kilmer. She later goes on to argue with Kilmer and yells at him for never dreaming to be more than a blind guy who rides a little bus to work at a spa his whole life. Hey! What is wrong with that? She could not accept him for who he was and tried to change him almost immediately after becoming enchanted by him. This woman is a nightmare.

I have to agree with other reviewers here that this did not feel like a romantic movie. It felt more like a sad drama. Kilmer gave an outstanding performance in a lousy film and that's the only reason I made it to the end. This movie couldn't be released in this day and age, twenty years on. The narrow and closed minded views on the blind/disabled would not be tolerated.

Only watch this film if you're a Kilmer fan and can stomach a Hallmarkesque film minus all the civility and love plus a dash of inappropriateness with despicable characters.
3 people found this helpful
New QuilterReviewed in the United States on August 27, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely HORRIBLE yet still getting 4 Stars you ask?
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Yep, it's horrifically bad, we've got a once upon a time A-list actor who found himself sharing the stage with another B-lister. I'm willing to overlook the bad acting, I'm willing to overlook the fact that everybody managed to interact with a blind (or disabled) person in the worst possible and most overwhelming of ways. I'll overlook that nobody including the medical professionals prepared him for all possible outcomes. I'll complete avoid and "woke" BS as the movie is more than 20 years ago when people didn't get engage in being recreationally offended as if it were a sport. I mean, I feel like I'm overlooking a lot here honestly yet the movie was still worth watching and not just for Mira's smile (which is really very lovely) and seeing the Twin Towers still standing. This is pretty much what you got from movies around this time, they tried, it was Hollywood, you didn't watch for anything but the entertainment and while slow paced there was enough there to make it worthwhile.
One person found this helpful
DetectorReviewed in the United States on August 25, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
interesting work, it portrays a true story
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The Val Kilmer character, newly sighted, is stymied by the many shifting facial landscapes that Mira Sorvino magically and without any overt mugging whatsoever, really subtle portrays. It's brilliant work. Sorvino is ideal for this role, she may lack the acting "volume" that an actress, like, say Jessica Lange has had, but for portraying subtle mental and emotional states, none better perhaps. Apparently the story follows a true life story, hence the soft ending, as the principals go their separate ways in life. I am thinking this was probably one of Kelly McGinnis's last films before she left acting to do restauranteuring, she's plays the older sister, and she does indeed look older than Kilmer here. Three interesting actors in this one, so its not boring, and apparently good directing. The nexus between sight, experience, and the brain is explored as the character goes from blind to sighted back to blind. This film could have been done with a lot of drama and hysterics, fortunately they didn't go that way.
CorsairReviewed in the United States on July 22, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Beautiful Movie
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This is a fabulous movie - Had to watch it twice! It's based on a real story of a man who was blind from 3 years old and regained his sight for a short period. While the theme of really seeing life is well done the magic of Sorvino and Kilmer is wonderful. Sorvino is beautiful of course but her acting style is enchantingly natural. The movie starts with an incredibly sensual massage scene and moves on to real life challenges but maintains the sense of touch throughout. Kilmer is amazing in his potrayal of a blind man struggling with sight and then learning to accept himself as a "sighted" blind man who "see"s more of the world than most.
9 people found this helpful
IronRodReviewed in the United States on September 22, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great story, nicely executed
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Val Kilmer, Mia Sorvino, Kelly McGennis, and the others did a great job with this. I was particularly taken with the relationship between Virg and Amy -- how it progressed and coming to understand what it would be like for someone who had essentially never had sight to reconcile his familiar world with a new one.
Morgan V. MadisonReviewed in the United States on February 7, 2012
5.0 out of 5 stars
very well done romantic, sexy film in which a really hot val kilmer plays a blind
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masseuse at a spa in a small town outside new york city where workaholic mira sorvino goes to de-stress from her architecture business.

val kilmer is so nice and likeable as a person (in addition to being gorgeous with amazing hands) that you develop a major crush on his character. he and mira hit it off right away.

then she finds a medical specialist in new york who could restore val's sight (he has been totally blind since age 3). as a person completely adjusted to being blind sight isn't at the top of his list of desires.

he wants to challenge himself, has started a new life with mira, and decides to try. well, his brain isn't used to seeing or processing visual data, so vision is not an instant miracle. unexpected challenges present themselves that make him feel like a blind man who is no longer blind, such as not being able to learn to read (even though he easily reads braille).

they have to try to work through problems as a together and try to survive as a couple. and there is ultimately a happy ending. i really loved this film.
4 people found this helpful
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