Leaving Las Vegas (1995)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

France/USA/United Kingdom, 1995.  , .  Screenplay by Mike Figgis, based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by Mike Figgis.  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Performances couldn’t possibly be better in this incredible love story. Nicolas Cage plays an alcoholic, washed-up screenwriter who gets fired from his job in Hollywood, sells everything he owns, buys as much booze as he can afford and moves into a sleazy hotel room in Las Vegas. While there he meets prostitute Elisabeth Shue and strikes up a friendship with her that turns into romance. What’s so wonderful about this very sad movie is how honest it is about the relationship these two people have, and about the reality of their lives–Shue’s hooker Sera is not a girl who could possibly have existed in Pretty Woman. The two leads give the performances of their lives, and Mike Figgis’ strong direction is amplified by gorgeous 16mm photography and his own hauntingly beautiful score.

Academy Award:  Best Actor (Nicolas Cage)
Nominations: Best Actress (Elisabeth Shue); Best Director (Mike Figgis); Best Adapted Screenplay

Golden Globe Award:  Best Actor-Drama (Nicolas Cage)
Nominations: Best Picture-Drama; Best Actress-Drama (Elisabeth Shue); Best Director (Mike Figgis)

Screen Actors Guild Award:  Best Actor (Nicolas Cage)
Nominations: Best Actress (Elisabeth Shue)

Toronto International Film Festival:  1995

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