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  • It's not unusual in Hollywood for 2 studios to be working on similar projects at the same time. One obvious example might be Milos Forman's beautiful Valmont, and Stephen Frear's certainly adequate Dangerous Liaisons. The latter featured a ‘bigger' cast by American standards, and did better business, not surprisingly.

    About the same time as Randa Haines' beautiful, ‘The Doctor', with William Hurt was delivered, so was Mike Nichols ‘Regarding Henry', starring Harrison Ford. Again, the latter did bigger business, and as a result I feel this film was largely overlooked.

    On first look, The Doctor seems a standard tale: icy, successful surgeon finds out what medicine is really like when the tables are turned and he is diagnosed with throat cancer. His redemptive arc is somewhat predictable, as he reconnects with family, redefines his medical practice, and restructures his relationship with his similarly icy partners.

    But it's under these, predictable circumstances that a true craftsman like Ms. Haines can make the ordinary extraordinary. The film is genuinely heartfelt and touching, resisting at every turn any self-indulgence, or the gratuitous pulling at heartstrings, relying on a quiet, confidence, a softer emotion instead.

    Not that it's not weepy at times.

    Hurt has never been better in the title role. Elizabeth Perkins as his soul-mate cancer victim is equally superb.
  • The Doctor may not be the most moving, most influential, or best portrayed movie of all time, but it certainly should rank near the top of the best medical movies of all time. The story is about Dr. Jack MacKee (William Hurt), an arrogant heart surgeon whose believes that doctors should "Get in, fix it, and get out". However, when he finds himself diagnosed with cancer, he must see the system from the other side - a mechanized, unsympathetic system where the patient's comfort is the least concern. The story complicates when he befriends a fellow cancer patient, June Ellis (Elizabeth Perkins), who proves to be an inspirational figure in Jack's battle against cancer.

    The movie could be deemed a transformation story. At first, Jack is an unlovable character - the doctor we all wish we didn't have. However, as he continues through his ordeal, his attitude begins to change. It is a profound change, and provides for many deep, moving scenes.

    The story itself is not complicated, and is easy to follow. The acting, however, is top notch, and makes for a terrific movie. I would recommend it to anybody.
  • I was impressed and touched by the movie's theme. I've recommended the movie to friends and acquaintances and those that watch it are also moved.

    When my wife was hospitalized for leukemia there was an intern who became impatient with my questions and concern. I couldn't help but think that "hey, someday you'll become a patient too. Let's see how you'll handle it."

    They should have medical students watch this movie. We can become callous at times, that we forget to put ourselves in the shoes of the other person.

    The movie shows that there are people that stay in our lives so briefly but leave warm and good impressions that last a lifetime.
  • A truly solid cast delivers a moving drama filled with humor and emotion. This could be the single best exploration of the theme of "empathy" ever filmed.

    This film should be required viewing for any training or development on health care, communication, leadership, and service. Watch this the same week you watch "Patch Adams" and you'll be a better person emotionally for it.
  • The premise seemed a little too straightforward at first glance: Doctor becomes patient. But it is so well executed, you can't help but be drawn in. I kept suspecting it was going to turn sappy at any moment, but director Randa Haines does not hold back on the emotional awkwardness that comes from difficult situations. There is much less sentimentality than Haines' best-known film, Children of a Lesser God. And although Hurt is far less "charming" in this film than he was in that one, he actually is more watchable. The more difficult he becomes, the more interesting the film gets.

    Another intriguing aspect of the film is the feelings Chritine Lahti's character experiences, from sympathy to anger, to jealousy, to feeling shut out, you name it. In fact, the film could have delved even deeper into their marital discord and it would not have lost me. For some this film may go down a little too easily, but I think the accessibility of the subject matter in this case is an asset.
  • The efficient surgeon Dr. Jack MacKee (William Hurt) is a successful, wealthy and indifferent man, married to but distant from his wife Anne (Christine Lahti) and their son Nicky. When Jack is diagnosed with a growth in his throat, he is submitted to radiation therapy and feels how patients are treated and exposed in the hospital. He befriends the fellow patient June Ellis (Elizabeth Perkins), who has incurable brain tumor, and she gives a lesson of life to him. But his treatment does not work and Jack needs to be submitted to a surgery. What will happen to him?

    "The Doctor" is a sensitive drama with a magnificent story of a doctor that changes his values when he understands the perspective of patients after becoming one with cancer. William Hurt, Christine Lahti and Elizabeth Perkins have wonderful performances and the story is never corny despite the pleasant conclusion. My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Um Golpe do Destino" ("A Strike of the Destiny")
  • This movie came out about a year before I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and I watched it during my recovery from surgery and radiation treatments. It helped me to understand the relationship between doctor and cancer patient. William Hurt is indeed excellent in this film, but I have always liked his understated presence and aloof yet empathetic evocations. Recently, a colleague was diagnosed with a serious cancer and he continues to undergo his treatments. I think the American medical community has made great improvements in the emotional component of care for cancer patients, but in 1992 Hurt's portrayal was close enough to echo my observations of how I was cared for then.

    So, though it's a bit of a tearjerker and has a happy ending that reality will not always produce, I think it is a meaningful film and especially for those who are facing a serious diagnosis or caring for those who are.
  • San Francisco surgeon Jack McKee (William Hurt) has been a jerk his whole life. He never refers to his patients by their names and apparently never knows why they're in the hospital. In short, Jack's the opposite of Patch Adams. But then, he becomes a patient, and finds out what it's really like to be on the other side. Admittedly, this is sort of a cliché (and maybe sappy at times). But still, it's a good look at one man's change.

    I will say that what Jack does at the end looked a little unrealistic; I doubt that he went that far in real life. But even so, I still say that the movie is worth seeing. Not a masterpiece by any stretch, but important. Also starring Christine Lahti, Charlie Korsmo, Mandy Patinkin and Adam Arkin.
  • The Doctor is a film that really touches you without being too weepy. It's the way doctors along the world think until... something happens and they find themselves on the other side. William Hurt is great as The Doctor. The desperation on his face when he finds out that from now on he'll be a cancer patient is unique and authenticque. But the film is not only for this doctor. It's about the community of doctors. It's about a closed profession that will hardly accept anyone else. Doctors have their own way of seeing things and that's obvious in the film. They are those who know what comes next and that's even more frightening for them. Dr. Blumfield is someone who's been banished from that special community for "daring" to see the side of a patient. The transformation of Dr. Jack McKee is a miracle that rises through his own sickness and his "patient-mate" is an angel in disguise to help him through. The whole story verifies what people say:"doctors are the worst patients ever" and that's because they experience the ultimate fear, considering that they have the knowledge. The film illustrates all of the concerns of The Doctor so beautifully and with such realism that's hard not to like it. I don't know about the general audience, but I do strongly believe that every Medical Doctor should see it.
  • One of the major problems with American-made films is they overlook the touching effectiveness of simplistic and credible story telling combined with well-toned, subtle and even performances. Films such as Rain man and Erin Brockovich are good examples of where these attributes are ditched in favour of over-dramatic, occasionally over-melancholic and (often) unrealistic subplots. This, in turn, usually results in forced, uneven and rather unmoving performances.

    American film makers need to review films such as Paris, Texas and The Browning Version to see how powerful, touching and engaging real-life drama is presented most effectively when the script-writers and director chooses simplicity and subtlety, without 'flair' and forced drama (ie... they need to look to Europe to see how it's done!)

    The Doctor is certainly a large step in the right direction. The tone is subtle and the acting is fantastic because it is even across the cast. There is nothing unrealistic or fancy about the story and we don't have doctors running round the "ER" yelling and screaming and "manufacturing" drama. The Doctor is simple, yet brilliant.

    I find it irrelevant that the story is overtly predictable. I'll never know why Hollywood finds it necessary to throw in the "dramatic twist" into every film? The majority of the time, the "twist" is usually predictable anyway, creates little by way of dramatic effect and is often childish and stupid (case in point "High Crimes"). Telling the story is the secret to drama, not artificially manufacturing one!

    Perkins was terrific in the Doctor, but it was surprising to see that she had few notable roles after this film.
  • A hidden gem of a movie about a doctor who learns what it's like to be sick and become a patient in his own hospital. William Hurt is fine as Dr. Jack McKee, and Christine Lahti is good as his lonely, hurt wife, but Elizabeth Perkins' performance as June, a fellow patient with Jack in for radiation therapy for her Stage 4 brain tumor is absolutely brilliant. She could've blown it with an over the top performance here, but she finds just the right tone and is really a calming presence throughout her screen time. She even looks good with a shaved head, bless her! I also love the scene (Tearjerker Alert) in which Mr. Maris, a prospective heart transplant patient of Jack asks him if the donor was good hearted or kind hearted and Jack's answer to him. Adam Arkin, Mandy Patinkin, and Wendy Crewson, as a mean-spirited Ear Nose & Throat specialist also deliver strong supporting turns.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A doctor finds out the hard way that there's more to medicine than skill in the operating theater in this emotional drama entitled,The Doctor. It is loosely based on Dr. Edward Rosenbaum's 1988 book A Taste Of My Own Medicine.It stars William Hurt as the doctor who undergoes a transformation in his views about life, illness and human relationships.Christine Lahti,Mandy Patinkin and Elizabeth Perkins co- star and Randa Haines directs.

    Jack McKee is a gifted but arrogant surgeon who cares little about the emotional welfare of his patients and is little more than a benign stranger to his wife Anne and his son Nicky. Jack has been suffering from a nagging cough for some time, and when he begins coughing up blood one morning, he finally allows another doctor to take a look at him. The doctor discovers that Jack has a malignant tumor in his throat that could rob him of the ability to speak, or even kill him. Suddenly, Jack is a patient instead of a doctor, and he learns first hand about the long stretches in the waiting room, the indignity of filling out pointless forms, and the callous attitude of the professional medical community. Jack also gets to know June, a terminal cancer patient whose joyous embrace of life as her time draws to a close is an inspiration to him. Restored to health, Jack is determined to be a more caring healer and strives to be a better husband and father, but his new lease on life also earns him an enemy in fellow surgeon Murray, who wants Jack to lie under oath for him in a major malpractice case; and a new respect for Eli, an ear-nose-throat man he used to ridicule for his empathetic treatment of his patients.

    This is an honest, well-acted and very moving film about a cold and arrogant surgeon who learns about compassion when he becomes a cancer patient.William Hurt does a great job in the title role.It was successful at touching hearts of critics and audiences alike. It also promises to entertain and inspire you from beginning to end.A must-see film for everyone who loves great movies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have watched this movie several times and I could watch it again. Each time that I watch I see a little more. If this were about Jack as a doctor, it could have ended with the scene of him tossing the interns the gowns and consigning them to 72 hours of endurance as patients. The movie ends on the roof of the hospital as Jack reads the letter from June. She tells the parable of the farmer and his fences. How the farmer changes his mind and wants the animals to return. He stands in the field and flaps his arms to attract them, but the animals are frightened by the new scarecrow. At first, I did not understand this. Then I thought back to the scene of Jack blowing his whistle and pointing to the board where he has written I need you. For me the movie works not as a story about a doctor who is brought to the light by seeing the world from the viewpoint of the patient. It is about how one cannot live a life alone.
  • As a person born with a genetic disorder that suffers from a variety of maladies, I have a very hard time being sympathetic towards people in the medical profession. Many times, it seems like being a doctor requires you to turn off your heart (so to speak) and treat everything like a problem that needs to be solved, forgetting about human things like emotion and fear.

    This movie is very useful for people like me in that it makes doctors human again.

    I admit that in the past, I have often vacillated in my opinion on this movie. The main character (William Hurt) does not appear to have learned anything by this movie's conclusion. While he is more sympathetic to the fears and woes that patients suffer, much of the underlying pathology present in the medical profession in general is downplayed. For example, the variety of cancer patients that have to suffer either painful or humiliating deaths (or both) because their cases were mishandled seem to simply be put aside as mistakes that happen because doctors are human.

    That may be the point, though.

    Without spoiling excessively, the final scene of the movie involves Hurt's character getting a message from a friend of his, a terminal cancer patient played by Elizabeth Perkins that had died recently. She tells a story about a farmer who is feared by crows because he chases them violently off his farm. One day, he changes his heart and comes outside, raising his arms to welcome the crows. But no crows come - because they are terrified of the farmer's new scarecrow. Doctors have a path to follow. When they find what they are looking for, they must use their knowledge and compassion together to create a new path for themselves. They cannot expect the world to forget their distrust in a heartbeat. It takes demonstrated work.

    This is what "The Doctor" teaches you. Doctors and patients alike should give this movie a fair shake. It may not be a classic piece of film, but it is a very compassionate, heartfelt story.
  • This film is an involving, serious and important reflection of what changes a doctor goes through when he is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

    Dr. Jack McKee (William Hurt) is an arrogant self-satisfied surgeon on top of the world. He and his colleagues, Dr. Eli Blumfield (Adam Arkin) and Dr. Kaplan (very well-portrayed by Mandy Patimkin) are all successful surgeons. Some go through character transformation for the better when they learn that Dr. McKee has throat cancer.

    An early scene in the film involves Dr. Abbot (great performance by Wendy Crewson as the ENT/throat surgeon who diagnoses his cancer). She is cold and clinical, and Hurt becomes angry. He tells her she is not treating her patients with any compassion or empathy. She basically responds by telling him her patients are basically an assembly line. Hurt used to be similar to Dr. Abbot, as we see in an opening scene he makes a cutting remark to a breast cancer patient.

    The transformation also occurs as Hurt is waiting for an MRI. He meets June Ellis (Elizabeth Perkins) who has an advanced brain tumor. She talks with him, and tells him they got to the cancer too late. She is resigned to her death. Hurt is outraged as he notes that she was never treated appropriately for her illness, as an MRI test would have diagnosed the early stages of a cancer. She retorts that her insurance company refused to pay for an MRI.

    Hurt's wife is well portrayed by Christine Lahti. She tries to help him, and he finds himself drawn to the patient, June Ellis. Hurt realizes that life is multi-faceted, and being a doctor is not the only thing that matters. Ellis teaches him to appreciate nature, they take a trip to the desert, there are some beautiful scenes and cinematography.

    Hurt finally realizes he must first teach compassion and empathy. New surgical interns are trained by him and there are some amusing scenes where he makes them enact a role reversal, and put on hospital gowns; they are to be diagnosed with fictional illness and identify with the patients. My brother is a surgeon and went through similar training.

    Overall an excellent and moving film not to be missed. Highly recommended. 9/10
  • Marianna Lorusso The Doctor, 1991, Director Randa Haines I had the pleasure of watching this movie last night with my family. It raised many ethical issues that are relevant to my Bioethics class, this semester. The movie starts out by depicting a successful heart surgeon listening to music as he is operating on a person's heart. The undesirable behavior continues towards the nurse as he is asking her to sing while she is clearly not comfortable doing so. At this point, I get the idea that this heart surgeon is egoistic and self-centered. He makes a comment to the residents as he is doing rounds that feelings have nothing to do with the science of medicine. The residents do not seem to find this odd as they are being trained to believe this for themselves.

    When he returns home, the movie demonstrates a father that is not much available to his family. Perhaps he feels "larger" to father a young boy and form a strong relationship. As time progresses, he realizes that his is developing a cough that is not subsiding. Finally, he makes an appointment to visit a doctor that will represent the same undesirable behaviors as him. This doctor is rude, disrespectful and demonstrates poor bedside manners. It is as this time that he is now the person needing care. He starts to see and realize the bureaucracy of the hospital and the effects on him. He now has to wait to be seen, signs multiple forms and is told when the surgery will take place to remove a malignant tumor in his throat.

    During this time, he meets another care-receiver, that is dying and I believe that this woman is there to teach this heart surgeon some valuable lessons about compassion for the ones that are sick. He undergoes a transcendental transformation into another Being. He is now connected to humans on a deeper level than before. He feels their worry and fear. My favorite part of this movie was how he took the same group of residents on rounds but this time, they were the ones receiving care. Teaching medical students just this important lesson, that the ones that enter the hospital are not just sick, but they are people. People that have feelings and emotions. Those attributes need to be put on a pedestal, for medicine to be a well-rounded success.
  • The successful team that brought us the sensitive and acclaimed "Children of a Lesser God" returns with another great emotional journey destined to turn our lives and views around. "The Doctor" reunites director Randa Haines and William Hurt in a powerful film that tells about the unexpected turns of life, the wake up call in which we stop, think about our past conducts and turn things for a more positive way. This little appreciated movie deserves a wider audience despite its mildly corny theme and the ones in more need of it are the ones depicted here: medical doctors.

    A glimpse to the story: Hurt plays Dr. Jack MacKee, a respected man who thinks he knows it all, with a God-complex like most medical doctors tend to have and act who finds himself with the tables turned when he's diagnosed as having throat cancer and has to deal with what his patients had to deal in several bureaucratic ways. He gets a taste of own his medicine this time as a patient who deals with uncaring doctors who fail to show up in scheduled appointments, long hours waiting for his name to get called and the up's and down's about possible results, tests and treatments. MacKee is one of those arrogant guys who thinks he knows it all about his craft but doesn't know how to interact with his patients - his interactions with his fellow workers are beautiful, filled with jolly humored moments, as demonstrated right in the opening when they're listening to a "Frankie Vallie & The Four Seasons" song during a surgery.

    A common phrase I heard during the years is that "doctors are the worst patients". Hurt's character fits the criteria with such accuracy that it's almost painful to watch. He's impatient, nervous, doesn't know how to cope with his diagnosis without alienating his wife and kid, and even some of his colleagues. But he finds some light with another patient (Elizabeth Perkins), who has a brain tumor. She's the one who brings this guy back to earth, back to the common suffering people and allows him to see a better side of life despite she's being in a worst condition as his. Along with those more tender moments, we have parallel stories involving the way Jack deals with his wife (Christine Lahti) and kid (Charlie Korsmo), both of whom he alienates a little bit and she's the one who tries to be very supportive but gets blocked by him each time she tries while with the kid he doesn't know how to fully explain his torments; and a malpractice process that a fellow of his (Mandy Patinkin) is facing at the moment and he trusts that Jack will help him out with his testimony (I think the film went over its head with this segment since it didn't present a conclusion to it. Gripping sequences between Hurt and Patinkin in those but I was hoping for some closure with that, specially because of how close they were during medical proceedings, the most humored bits of the film).

    Trust me, it's not like those TV melodramas that turn things around in a bright way in a fast time, this film has some interesting development and intelligent dialogues in which we understand each point of view with care and respect, and some touch of art as well (amazingly presented during Hurt and Perkins scene in the desert when she explains how she deals with her terminal condition). It's not a case of taking a jab on doctors or preachy about they act the way they do despite this work being an adaptation from a doctor who went through similar situations as presented in the film. And I even doubt that some MD will watch this movie...but if they do, it'll be a more poignant experience than for us present or future patients. It's not an attack on them, it's more a mere presentation of realistic facts that happen and it's never too late to change ways of conduct - my favorite scene in that example is when an intern forgets to mention the patient's name and just says that his case is a terminal one, to which Jack replies that the intern's career will be over if he ever say a similar thing again. In the past, he wouldn't care less and probably say the same but while being on the other side of the fence he sees the humanity of it all and think things over.

    Mrs. Haines made a remarkable film again, even though this one was more sad than "Children of a Lesser God" and at times less satisfying; but I like her quality in making works where you actually feel part of the environment, you like the characters despite their flaws and it's always nice to revisit them, their places and situations because it genuinely feels like you're going back home and you truly understand everything about them. No rush, it's all quiet, calm and with an everlasting effect. And there's always room for humored moments that are more effective than if you were watching a comedy. "The Doctor" is truly inspired and reinvigorating, avoiding clichés and using some necessary ones, anchored with powerful performances that goes through your heart. 10/10
  • geenam1 March 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    I really liked this movie. William Hurt was excellent as a cold surgeon, who although excellent as his job, didn't have a lot of beside manner. He didn't realize how he came across to patients and didn't seem to care. However, it all changes when he is diagnosed with cancer and becomes the patient.

    The movie also deals with the relationship he has with his family. He doesn't have the emotional connections with his wife and son and in fact doesn't even reveal to her that he is sick at first. He also befriends a fellow cancer patient and has feelings for her and his wife notices.

    When the physician does become the patient, William Hurt finally realizes what patients experience and this makes him a better person, dad, husband and doctor. The movie is uplifting, not overly sentimental and the acting is phenomenal. I love anything Mr. Hurt is in and he doesn't disappoint with his performance.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This film truly caught my attention, I just watched on TV, and was really impressed. Why? well, we could say that there probably are a lot of these films (almost a sub-genre within drama movies) when regarding to the tone, characters, existential conflicts and ideal-moral messages but I think this one stands aside.

    The story is very simple, the acting is great but realistic, the film is shot in a very classical style, the conflicts are there, my point is that despite we (as an audience) have all the elements at the surface, this film runs more deep and has more layers than it seems at first sight. The true power or engine here is the script, which hides beneath the great cast and wonderful directing, it allows us to think a predictable-known story in a symbolic (and political) way, opening a lot of cognitive doors that can take us apart from the plain meaning to different new levels of thinking these very same elements.

    For instance, we have a "doctor" who is actually tortured by the burocratics politics of the very same hospital he works for, and finds himself becoming, first a patient, afterwards something less than human (although not like Kafka's Gregor) because of the medical protocol doctors tend to follow. Also, he meets a woman who was sentenced to die by her medical insurance company (another Kafka theme, the destiny or conviction taken upon ourselves). So he ends up discovering the truth of his reality and himself, waking from his dream-death (as an institutionalized being) reforging his identity and humanity. It's interesting to find here two important's elements such as the mythological way of understanding living as a dream and death as life, like a new state of mind only perceived after dying; and second, the battle the hero in modern days fights for, his self-independency.

    This is obviously a political allegory against the powers that rules our lives and fates, and can-must be thought in any other line of work, but got to admit that gains another dimension by being themselves DOCTORS, and not caring at all about us, just only money motivated like a sales man would.

    The Doctor is much more complex and I hope people would give this film a chance, it's the exact opposite and in my opinion a future reference to what any medical(TV or film) story should aim for.

    p.s.: Mike Nichol's Regarding Henry it's in a similar level than this one.
  • elton-43 September 2000
    This movie is excellent. I am a Doctor too, General Surgeon and was very impressed by it. I am a teacher, as well, and it would be very good if I could watch together with my medical students. I do not know why this movie is not available to buy. It should be, either in VHS or DVD.
  • The doctor is a quiet slow paced movie but in the same way's a slow dance good, so is The Doctor. Jack (William Hurt) is a heart surgeon who is brilliant at his craft however his bedside matter would freeze hell over. He is forced to walk a mile in his patients shoes when he finds himself in need of treatment for throat cancer. He sees for the first time his medical system from the end users point of view and the view is not that great. The story is fairly simple and it is the fine acting that floats it. You know what's going to happen in the plot, you are fairly entertained at first finding it hard to sympathize with Jack. In fact its gratifying to the audience to see him pushed and treated like a number, just like we all have. As you see Jack dehumanized by a mechanical system that does not care however it hits you fairly close to home (who hasn't spent an hour waiting to get stitched up at the hospital) and you start to sympathize with Jack. At that point the film hits the mark it was aiming for the filmmakers say thank you, pack up and go home. Randa directs the film, by the numbers trading fancy camera work and flash editing for story and pace. She does what she needs to do to tell the story and nothing more nothing less. The Doctor co-stars Elizabeth Perkins who plays a tool character, a fellow patient who is jacks conscience personified. She shows him the errors of his ways with her words of wisdom and Christine Lahti as his distant but not unloving wife. Who ultimately plays jacks redemption. The Doctor is a nice heartwarming, time passing movie overall so I recommend to all you guys out there looking to get some sensitivity into your lives and you have seen all of Cameron Crowe's movie's. And Ladies I have no doubt that this should be gotten out at the same time as Beaches and watched with tissue and Ice Cream close at hand. Keep your eyes peeled all you Chicago Hope fans, The Doctor is packed full of people who just couldn't shake that doctor stereotype and went on to play doctors again in Chicago hope. On a final note, just like most movies that tug at your heart strings, your brain isn't required, so leave it at the video store.
  • I'm truly surprised that The Doctor got no Oscar nominations. Maybe because it tells some uncomfortable truths about death, dying, and the medical profession. And William Hurt in the title protagonist role was certainly Oscar worthy.

    Hurt is a successful surgeon with all the perks that his high priced profession can give him. He has a wife, Christine Lahti and a child and lives more than comfortably. Hurt also enjoys the perks of playing God with people's lives as doctors certainly do.

    That all changes when Hurt is discovered to have a malignant growth in his throat. Then he becomes a patient and sees from that point of view how some in his profession treats whom it is supposed to serve.

    The real eye opener is Hurt meeting a terminally ill Elizabeth Perkins who is facing death with as much fear and trepidation as most of us would be doing. Hurt learns a few life lessons from her.

    Another performance of note is that of colleague Mandy Patinkin who Hurt sees a reflection of his former self and truly grows to despise. Still Patinkin treats the people he serves like so much cattle, I doubt he'll ever get it.

    Hurt is also a teaching resident in his hospital and in the end you really wish that hospitals make what he does a general policy for its new interns.

    The Doctor is a real eye opener of a film. Don't miss it and the Oscar caliber performances of William Hurt and Elizabeth Perkins. A rotten shame they and the film were not nominated.
  • Diva10117 April 2005
    6/10
    Okay
    While this is not really the kind of movie that someone calls a favorite or one that you want to watch over and over again, it has it's interesting and touching moments. This is even more so if you've ever worked around smug doctors, have gone through a medical crisis or have supported someone through one. William Hurt plays his usual "I need a jolt to get me out of this semi-comatose drawl" guy which actually works well for the part. His stereotyped distant demeanor as a physician who seems to have it all quickly dissipates after being diagnosed and treated for cancer. Unfortunately, he turns a tad too sappy in the end. A scene in which he caressed the head of patient who he just performed a heart transplant on was too sugary for my taste. As happens far too often, women only get "tool" supporting characters here. While I've usually considered Elizabeth Perkins a non-actress, she shows otherwise in this movie and delivers a good performance if only in a supporting role. The movie is well cast all around. Christine L and Mandy P also deliver good performance if in all too small roles. The script and directing could have been better.
  • William Hurt looked efforlessly sad as usual(though I haven't seen him actually shed a tear?!). Even though he's perfect for the arrogant/closed-off/melancholy doctor role, the movie has its problems: could pick up its pace quite a bit, some arc development isn't quite clear, and the acting and overall storytelling is too contrived. It just left me thinking what if Robin Williams played this role and made it more of a comedy? Hmmm...
  • William Hurt is the happy-go-lucky heart and lung surgeon forced to swallow a bitter pill when he develops a malignant tumor in his throat and suddenly has to face the same impersonal treatment he prescribes for his own patients. The film works best when charting his frustration while looking down the wrong end of the stethoscope, but elsewhere Doctor Hurt's internal struggle toward a more compassionate bedside manner is conveyed through soggy domestic melodrama, with an unnecessary digression into the Nevada desert outside Reno for a pas de deux with terminal brain tumor patient Elizabeth Perkins. The script could easily have been trimmed by twenty pages; it would have been more effective (and certainly more concise) without the predictable marriage crisis. But under Randa Haines' direction the film is, thankfully, more sensitive than sentimental, with a totally convincing (and all too familiar) medical background and a first rate cast to recommend it.
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