Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. Universal Pictures, Kennedy Miller Productions. USA, 1992. Screenplay by George Miller, Nick Enright. Cinematography by John Seale. Produced by George Miller, Doug Mitchell. Music by Christine Woodruff. Production Design by Kristi Zea. Costume Design by Colleen Atwood. Film Editing by Marcus D’Arcy, Richard Francis-Bruce. Academy Awards 1992. Golden Globe Awards 1992.
Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon play two real-life heroes, Augusto and Michaela Odone, two parents who found themselves with no place to turn when their son Lorenzo was diagnosed with a debilitating and eventually terminal genetic disease. Deciding that they were tired of the doctors around them who couldn’t give them any help, the Odones instead decided to do their own research and discovered a veritable cure for themselves. George Miller (who also directs) and Nick Enright’s script does an excellent job of depicting the personal, dramatic struggle in this family without ever letting it turn into a weepy TV movie of the week or too awe-inspired for its own good. Nolte’s Chef Boyardee accent is annoying, and nobody in this film can even half convince you that they’re Italian, but Sarandon’s magnificently powerful performance is a real thing of beauty. Also featuring a rare screen appearance by the marvelous Peter Ustinov, it should be pointed out that the film plays fast and loose with the facts both of the medical establishment’s resistance to helping the Odones as well as the eventual effectiveness of their cure, but that doesn’t stop it from being a very moving piece about a family in peril. As a sad epilogue to this beautiful film, it is regrettable to note that the real Michaela Odone passed away in 2000, her son following in 2008 and her husband in 2013.