Andy holding limp cat in waiting room of vet. Nine words. Is that
the right way up?
Yeah. What're you doing?
I'm labelling it.
That what's in the photograph is what was there. This is proof
that what I sensed is what you saw, through your eyes. The truth.
1991 drama, rated R (US), runs 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Written and directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse and produced by Lynda House,
you just know that they had to create a production company called
House and Moorhouse. (It would have been even better if Lynda's
husband had been involved.)
- Major Cast
A blond Hugo Weaving
A young Russell Crowe in one of his first movie roles
and (AFAIK first- and last-timer) Genevieve Picot
- Minor Cast
A couple of nobodies, and a Labrador to play Bill
C-Dawg says: A definite should-see, as he told the woman on the street
today who asked him what movie he was carrying as he walked to the video store.
Put simply, the story of Martin (Weaving), a blind man, his
housekeeper Celia (Picot), and their lives being changed when Martin makes
a friend, Andy (Crowe). Yawwn.
Okay, the blind man always carries a camera and takes pictures of
whatever situations he finds himself in. He and his housekeeper
of three years get on each other's nerves all the time. Andy is a
genial dishwasher in an Italian restaurant somewhere in Australia.
Watching the movie taught me some things about blindness, though it isn't
"about" blind people. One is that a blind person really needs (and probably
learns early on) to keep his passions in check,
as we see when Martin storms out of Celia's home — which I'm sure he'd
never been to before — and calms down quickly, realizing he has no
idea where he is or how to get home.
Another is that he really needs people he can trust. Early in the movie,
we see Martin going to his safe to get some cash to pay Celia.
He makes her stand next to him, facing away from the safe and with his
hand over her eyes, while he dials the combination. Of course, she could
easily defeat that security measure, but even so, it makes
it clear that a blind person may be quite vulnerable to dishonesty. (That
scene didn't enlighten me as to how blind people in the USA handle currency,
which here is the same size and texture regardless of denomination.)
Trust is a big issue in the story. Martin grew up totally
distrusting his mother, whom he was convinced hated him for being blind,
though we don't really see a reason for that. At one point in the film,
we see a flashback to Martin's childhood. He's with his mother looking
out a window…
It's a nice day. There are leaves blowing about on the ground. There's
a man raking them up. Do you hear him?
Well, he stopped for a moment —
I can't hear him. voice raisedHe was never there!
Why would I lie to you?
Because you can.
We see the strength of his conviction when she sits with him one day and
explains that she's going to die soon. He claims she just wants to leave
him. Then we see him dressed in his Sunday best standing next to a casket.
He thumps the
and proclaims it hollow. (It does kind of sound that way to me, but there's
no reason for the viewer to think that it really is.)
Martin meets Andy in a made-for-the-movies accident outside Andy's
restaurant, which sends them together
to a veterinarian's office with an injured cat. Martin takes out his camera
and, with aiming advice, takes pictures of the people and their pets there.
A few days later, he shows up at the restaurant with an envelope full of
photos from the vet, and asks Andy to describe them to him, which leads to
the dialog quoted in introduction.
Martin says he likes Andy's straightforwardness and
asks if he would be willing to do it again. Andy agrees but declines the offer
of money in exchange, and a beautiful friendship begins.
One evening they're at Martin's house, the first time Andy's been there.
He sees a picture of Martin as a child with his mother, and asks Martin if
he'd like him to describe it. He does so, and then Martin becomes somber and
says, "Andy, you must never lie to me". A taken-aback Andy replies
"Why would I do that?" Martin doesn't answer, but we see the flashback
mentioned above with his mother asking the same question.
Finally he answers in a way that shows he's letting Andy a little way in.
One day I might show you a photograph. The first one I ever took; I was ten.
Not much of a photograph, just a garden that was visible from our flat.
But it's the most important photograph I've ever taken. She would describe it.
I questioned her, trying to catch her in a lie. I never did. But with the
photograph I knew I could.
This being a movie, there comes a point where Andy lies to Martin about
the content of a photo. We've seen throughout that Celia would do quite
mean things to Martin, like hiding items in his house, or moving things
so that he would run into them. One day, Andy comes upon Martin
in the park. Martin's guide dog, Bill, runs over but continues past Andy
to Celia who is sitting on a bench some distance away. While Martin calls
to Bill, Celia restrains him. Andy is watching this in befuddlement, and
Martin starts taking pictures in every direction.
Eventually, Celia lets go of Bill and he returns to Martin.
We learn that this is not at all the first time this has happened. Martin
gets the pictures back and says that he thinks the mystery of where Bill
goes might finally be solved. Celia is present while Andy looks at the
photo of her holding Bill (and Andy blurredly running out of the frame),
and obviously doesn't want to "tell on her" and doesn't want to hurt Martin,
so he decides to go the route of the little white lie.
Eventually, Martin finds that he hasn't been getting the whole truth from
Andy and they have a blow up, but, in what is clearly a first for Martin,
he considers Andy's defense that people cannot always tell "nothing but the
truth" and doesn't end their friendship on the spot.
Lastly, we see Martin take from his safe his "first photograph" and ask Andy to describe it to him. Andy does so, describing the leaves, the birdbath, the man raking up the fallen leaves. Of course, Andy doesn't know the significance, but Martin clearly puts the problems with his mother behind him and tells Andy to keep the picture. And, for all we know, they live happily ever after.
 Ironically, Crowe a decade later would make a movie called Proof of Life.
 There is a major second part of the story which involves
the relationship between Martin and Celia, which I'm not getting into,
but at points has each of them asking the other why he keeps her on and
why she stays.