The Waterdance

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In 1985, Neal Jimenez, a successful young screenwriter, was left paralysed for life after breaking his neck. The same fate befalls novelist Joel Garcia (Stoltz) in Jimenez's first film as director, a moving drama set in a rehabilitation ward for paraplegics. At first Garcia maintains a degree of equanimity - he can still write, after all - but his latent frustration becomes more apparent in contact with his married girlfriend (Hunt) and the other patients in his ward, Raymond (Snipes) and Bloss (Forsythe). In essence another 'triumph-over-adversity' picture, its ensemble nature is both its strongest asset and its weakness. Neither lonely, black Raymond nor redneck biker Bloss has Joel's mental escape route: his talent. If this helps to ground things in a less sanguine vision than is usual, the movie cannot quite bring itself to resist the balm of male bonding, so that at worst it comes perilously close to something like a buddy movie on wheels. Even then, script, direction and performances are all right on the nose. It's frank and funny with it.

Release details

Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Neal Jimenez, Michael Steinberg
Screenwriter: Neal Jimenez
Cast: Eric Stoltz
Wesley Snipes
William Forsythe
Helen Hunt
Elizabeth Peña
William Allen Young
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