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Oscars Challenge #92: The English Patient (1996) Movie Review

The English Patient is one of those films that contain a lot of great actors, but since the story is subpar, their talents are overshadowed.

A film that has the combined talents of Ralph Fiennes, Willem Dafoe, Juliette Binoche, Colin Firth, and many more. This film has almost everything except a well-executed plot structure.

Plot Overview

The storytelling style of The English Patient goes back and forth between the current events and flashbacks, which makes it quite confusing for casual movie viewers.

The movie begins when a British plane gets shot off by German soldiers. A group of bedouins rescued the badly burned pilot to safety.

Time passes, and a combat nurse named Hana is tasked with caring for the wounded and dying English patient who cannot remember his name. Among his possessions is the book Histories of Herodotus which contains fragments of notes and memories of his life. Hana believes she is a curse after witnessing her friend die in front of her. She takes the man to a ruined monastery and is with him until the end.

During their time in the monastery, they are joined by several people. One is a Canadian soldier named David Caravaggio, who lost his finger after an interrogation by German soldiers. He begins questioning the patient, who opens up about himself and a few memories he remembers.


I do not know what to feel about this movie, if it's depressing or not. It's very confusing and disappointing to see a talented actor such as Ralph Fiennes, who we all know, portray some of the best characters of all time, like Amon Goeth in Schindler's List or Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise.

The love story in this film drags the plot a little bit. The movie's screen time is almost three hours long, and some scenes are unnecessary or do not make sense. Like another Best Picture winner, Titanic, the story won't feel incomplete if you remove the romantic aspect.

The English Patient, however, contains great shots focusing on natural lighting. It has a unique feel that makes you think that you are in a desert.

Despite winning the Best Picture award during the 69th Academy Awards, I do not think it tops against the Coen brothers' Fargo. I think the academy wants a love story than a mystery.

Despite being a disappointing winner, The English Patient still belongs to history, and I respect that. It may have its own hits and misses, but it still deserves its praise.

A not-so-good 2 out of 5 stars.

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