The English Patient (1996)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film, Romantic Epic, War Romance, Romantic Adventure  |   Release Date - Nov 15, 1996 (USA)  |   Run Time - 169 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Richard Gilliam

The English Patient is admired for the lush, romantic texture of its story and for its visual richness. It is a complex and rewarding film, meticulously produced and featuring superb performances from an ensemble cast, particularly Juliette Binoche, whose upset Oscar win as Best Supporting Actress (over sentimental favorite Lauren Bacall) is one aspect of the film that has never been significantly under question. It is also fair to say that few films have had so quick a downward re-evaluation. The winner of nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film was released to a smartly designed marketing campaign of snob appeal that overwhelmed the Oscar voting season. There arose an immediate and continuing consensus that nine Oscars may have been too many for this romantic war epic and that Fargo was the greater and more lasting work of 1996. Producer Saul Zaentz was the primary creative force behind the film, obtaining the financing and bringing together an unusually talented team of top-notch actors and tech personnel. The film was marketed as a triumph of "independent" filmmaking, even though it was essentially financed and distributed by its corporate parent, studio giant Disney.