The Bottom Line: "She died of a faver and no one could save her And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone" ~James Yorkston
I must admit I was disappointed with the production of Molly, directed by John Duigan and written by Dick Christie. It is rated PG-13 for nudity & sex related material. Nominated for no awards. The idea, or concept, of the film was fine. It has been used in scores of other films and worked well; ie, Rain Man & Charly or even Awakenings. But it fell flatter than my morning omelet in this delivery.
The story: Buck McKay is a 30-something, fairly successful, young man whose life takes a sudden twist when he is notified that the institution where his sister, Molly, lives is being closed down by the government. They want you to take a disliking to Buck because he hasn't been as attentive as some think he should be to Molly. Let's face it, he was a young boy when she was placed in the facility and they have little in common except a birthright. His visits have pretty much been a yearly trip for Christmas.
I can't fault this in Buck. Since my own mother was placed in a nursing home I have seen her thought process drastically failing. She hasn't recognized me for a year although she knows others and she always knows Diane when she visits with me and asks her how I am doing, even though I am setting right there. What I take away from these visits is the thought that this isn't the same woman that made my life hell for 60 years. She has become a complete stranger to me and, frankly, I make the visits only out of obligation.
This is how I think Buck would feel about the subject. Molly suffers from some form of atisum. Apparently she is unable to function on her own in even the most trivial thing, like tying her shoes. Buck's home isn't exactly designed to take her in, but he does, and he discovers a sister he never knew. It may have been because she was more restrained in the institution, I know they are understaffed and overworked, or maybe it was because Buck was more mature now.
When a trial study is offered for Molly, to help her gain some form of independence, Buck agrees to the operation. We do see a change in her demeanor and her ability to fend for herself but, unfortunately, the operation doesn't have a lasting effect and she returns to her former demeanor.
The actors: Aaron Eckhart did an outstanding job of portraying Buck. You felt every bit of his frustration as well as his pleasure. The same can't be said for Elisabeth Shue who took on the role of Molly. Her delivery of the character was an embarrassment to those that actually are affected by this disease along with their families.
Also rans were Jill Hennesey, Lucy Liu, D.W. Moffat and Thomas Jane.
Overall impression: This was 1999, it isn't as if autism had never been heard of. I felt they fell decidedly short by not employing a professional that could given them something to work with. I think of Max Burkholder, who plays on the TV show Parenthood. At 13 years old, now, ten when he started the production, his delivery of a child with Asperger's syndrome is so realistic, I thought he was truly affected. Instead they periodically study with a professional dealing with autism and Asperger's, just to make the performance ring true.
Where I think Duigan & Christie failed, transferring their failure to the actors, was thinking autism is a word and everyone understands it. Well, polygram is a word too, but I don't understand the theorem for a polygram.
Autism isn't just a word, it is a tornado that can destroy entire families and their core friendships. They never took the time to delve into the early life of these siblings to see how each was affected and, thus, formed in later life. Instead they tried to wrap it up in a bundle of showy flowers with a pretty bow, until the petals started fading.
A shame really, properly done this could have been a nice piece of work
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Susi Dawson (SusiDee34)
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Molly (Elisabeth Shue) is a functioning autistic who has been living isolated in a government facility for the last fifteen years, after the death of her parents. When the government closes the facility down, her brother Buck (Aaron Eckhart), is forced to take her in, much to his dissatisfaction. When Molly is invited to participate in a radical new surgery to possibly revoke the symptoms of autism, Buck reluctantly agrees. At first the surgery doesn't appear to work but suddenly Molly opens up to the world and sees life completely differently, full of questions and confusing longings, Molly changes the lives of those around her forever.