The storyline of At First Sight (1999) is pretty simple: Blind guy meets girl. Blind guy and girl fall in love. Girl wants blind guy to have an operation to restore his sight. Blind guy has the operation. More dramatic stuff happens.
I watched this film recently because I saw that it was available for free on my OnDemand movie list, and this film has been on my Master List for awhile. I even tried to watch it a few years ago but couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes. This time, I forced myself to watch the entire film. And, of course, I also took the opportunity to Facebook my experience:
At First Sight is really bad, y’all, and badly shot. It’s like the director, Irwin Winkler, wanted to make the main actors (Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino) look as haggard and unappealing as possible. And even worse, the end credits revealed that the film is based on a true story! SIGH. Shirl and Barbara Jennings, you deserved better. Much better.
Although that pretty much sums up my feelings about this film, I do have to address the sassy librarian who makes an appearance about 15 minutes into the film. Virgil (Kilmer) and Amy (Sorvino) are on a walk through town, and Virgil is showing off his other sensory gifts while describing the town and its inhabitants to her along the way.
Virgil then hears rumbling car noises:
Virgil: Here comes Nancy. She’s the librarian. Gets me any book I want in Braille. Hey Nancy!
Nancy: Hey Virgil. I got that book in for you.
Virgil: Still haven’t got that old jalopy fixed.
Nancy: No, if I got it fixed, how would you know that it’s me?
Virgil then gives Nancy and Amy a quick introduction to each other, but Nancy, with a letter in her hands, is obviously on the move and running errands.
Nancy: Gotta go. [to Amy] Be careful, honey. He’s all hands.
Virgil: Be nice.
Nancy: Yeah. [walks away]
Amy [to Virgil]: Nice town you have here. Seems you’re very popular with the ladies.
The film credits reveals the librarian’s full name, Nancy Bender, played by Margo Winkler. I enjoyed this reel librarian’s spunk and breath of fresh air, a spot of realism sorely needed in this wishy-washy film. And come to find out, Margo Winkler is the real-life wife of the director, Irwin Winkler! Thank goodness he did right by his wife and the reel librarian character.
Nancy Bender, another Information Provider in a Class IV film, also joins a list of reel librarians who are never seen in their library work environment; instead, their professions are merely referred to. See also Ragtime (1981), That Touch of Mink (1962), This Happy Breed (1944), The Golden Child (1986), The Last Supper (1995), and The Asphalt Jungle (1950), among others.
Also, I couldn’t pass up another opportunity to highlight another Friends reference. This film, At First Sight (1999), is referenced in the Season 7 episode, “The One with Rachel’s Big Kiss,” when Chandler Bing is jealous of Ross and his Batman tux, until he finds:
An invitation to the At First Sight premiere? Oh my God! Val Kilmer didn’t wear this in Batman, he wore this to a premiere of some tutti-fruity love story where he played a blind guy!
You’re welcome. 😉
- Reel librarians in real life (reel-librarians.com)
- 10 of the Coolest Librarians Alive (flavorwire.com)
- The Quotable Librarian (reel-librarians.com)