Synopsis by Ron Wells
New York architect Amy Benic (Mira Sorvino) meets blind masseur Virgil Adamson (Val Kilmer) and falls in love. As she learns his lifelong blindness may be curable through experimental surgery, she convinces him to undergo the operation. Virgil then learns vision may not quite be what he expected. At First Sight is directed by Irwin Winkler and also stars Bruce Davison, Nathan Lane, and Kelly McGillis. At First Sight is a romance adapted by writer Steve Levitt based upon the story To See and Not See from noted writer Dr. Oliver Sacks' collection, An Anthropologist on Mars. Dr. Sacks' work is also the basis for the Penny Marshall film Awakenings, starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams and the opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Michael Morris with music by Michael Nyman. In his original story, Dr. Sacks tells of receiving a call in October 1991 from a retired minister in the Midwest. His daughter was about to marry a fifty-year old man, Virgil, who had been blind since early childhood. He had thick cataracts and been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a disease which slowly eats away the retinas. As he could still make the distinction between light and dark, it was found he was misdiagnosed and simple cataract extraction could possibly restore his sight. While surgery was a success, Virgil, like his cinematic counterpart, found he would have to learn to use his vision much like an infant would, even though he was adept at relating to the world through touch. In his A New Theory of Vision, written in 1709, George Berkeley concluded there was no necessary connection between a tactile world and a sight world; a connection between them could be established only on the basis of experience. This same story was also adapted into the play Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel.
architecture, blindness [physical], experiment, masseuse, romance, surgery, vision [eyesight]