19 June 2000 | dan-476
Original, refreshing, challenging, puts Rain Man in the shade
This is the French and Belgians doing what they do best. It's quirky, visually inventive, exhilarating and emotionally challenging storytelling. Director Jaco van Dormael takes us into the world of Georges, a Down's Syndrome sufferer and his quest for a meaningful relationship with someone, just anyone. This is not done in a patronising way but with a great sense of fun and also honesty. Georges' interplay with corporate management guru, Harry is dazzlingly handled - shifting from comedy to tragedy back to comedy again with breathtaking ease.
The Eighth Day puts similar Hollywood fare like Barry Levinson's Oscar winning Rain Man or Robert Zemeckis's Forrest Gump well and truly in the shade. At times, it evokes the humour of Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with shades of Dennis Potter thrown in for good measure.
As the emotionally blunted and desperately lonely yuppie, Harry, Daniel Auteuil turns in yet another sublime performance. But it is matched by the brilliant Pascal Duquenne as Georges. It's a movie with uniformly strong performances and so many, memorable set pieces - the shoe shop scene, car showroom scene, George's dance to Genesis's 'Jesus He Knows Me,' the conference scene, the fireworks scene. If you haven't seen it, there's only one thing to do. Just rent it or attend a screening at a retro cinema near you and see what you've been missing. Better still, buy this movie. Sheer genius.....