review for The Doctor on AllMovie

The Doctor (1991)
by Karl Williams review

A touching real-life memoir becomes this powerful drama that reunites Children of a Lesser God director Randa Haines and star William Hurt. Always excelling in the role of a detached intellectual, Hurt gives one of his best performances as a surgeon whose cold aloofness puts a new spin on the word "clinician," until a life-altering health crisis reorients his perspective. Christine Lahti matches Hurt blow for blow as the doctor's embittered, angry wife, and Adam Arkin brings welcome, subtle shadings to his role of a kind and compassionate physician (Arkin's delightful creative choice is to play the man as if he knows he's considered a simpleton by his peers). Other supporting players such as Elizabeth Perkins and Mandy Patinkin are not so lucky, portraying characters that border on the clichéd, the only sour notes in an otherwise masterful, penetrating piece of filmmaking that actually has something vital to say about modern-day existence.