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Criterion Collection: Gray's Anatomy [Blu-ray] [Import]

4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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If you can manage to suffer through an excruciating series of painful tales of eye trauma, then you might find yourself caught up and swept away in Spalding Gray's filmed monologue Gray's Anatomy. This amusing and capricious film is a bit different from his previous Swimming to Cambodia, which focused on his role in the film The Killing Fields. This time, Gray finds himself experiencing "disturbances" in his left eye, and after he is diagnosed by ophthalmologists as having a "macular pucker," he sets out to find a cure without having to set foot in a New York hospital. Raised as a Christian Scientist and fearing the loss of his eyesight, Gray dramatizes his journey in search of alternative treatments. Along the way, he calls the Christian Scientists' hot line, visits so-called Native American shamans, eye nutritionists, and Filipino psychic surgeons, all in the name of relief. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Sex, Lies and Videotape), the one-man show is injected with movement by his inventive use of sets, lighting, and creative camera angles. The pacing can sometimes be frantic due to Gray's excited dialogue and self-examination, but as a result, it succeeds in holding you until the mirthful end. --Michele Goodson

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Feast for the Middle Aged Male March 22 2004
By Birdman
Spalding Gray's death has left us poorer than when we started. How evident this is after viewing this edgy, moving, often riotous monologue directed by Stephen Soderbergh.
A macular "pucker" leaves Gray virtually blind in one eye. Born into Christian Science, Gray leaves the church when his CS practitioner demands he renounce allopathic medicine to receive help. Gray's breathless journeys through alternative healing remind us that we all face mortality at any cost, and that no religious or philosopical system will spare us the inevitability of suffering or dying.
What I loved most about this film were Gray's frequent outbursts of humor -- framed in frustration, delivered in sentences which resonate like poetry in the mind, this guy rages -- quite literally -- against the dying of the light. And I would add that this is a film best viewed late at night.
While Soderbergh's direction is occasionally heavy-handed and self- conscious, it is still creative and ambitious and will never disqualify this film from classic status.
The movie doesn't benefit from the opening montage of "eye horror stories" delivered by subjects who almost lost their sight, and who occasionally make an unwelcome visit into Gray's monologue. Happily, Gray gets 'round them.
The man had a brilliant, brilliant mind and a great heart. Watch this, and the only thing you risk is awareness of his absence, and it is a sad feeling.
I just loved this movie, or should I say: I loved this mirror.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Gray Matter Dec 29 2001
By A Customer
Another triumph for Spalding Gray. I love a good storyteller, and Gray is in typical form here, frantically explaining (occasionally in a little too much detail) his journey through various alternative healing methods to correct his rare eye affliction.
I don't know where a few of the other reviewers were coming from with their critical comments, but let me make a few things clear: (1) the cutting to comments from other people in the film took up no more than about 10 minutes, were well-timed, and made for a nice change of pace, (2) there was only one instance of profanity that I remember, and that one line added much to the telling of the story, and (3)Soderbergh's use of lighting and different camera angles created a beautiful flow to the film, often softening the frantic style of Gray's presentation. It certainly did not detract from the impact of the film. A few times he used a fuzzy or distorted view to create a bit of brilliant irony as Gray discussed his neuroses about losing his eyesight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better every time I watch it Sept. 7 2002
By A Customer
This is the story of a very neurotic man who can't cope with having something wrong with his eye. I loved this movie. Spalding Gray is funny, smart, insightful, and full of angst. He manages to make his anxieties hillarious. I loved the way this movie was edited. I loved the intercut anecdotes of strange things that have happened to people's eyes, the commentary on the movie, and the visual representations of Spalding's journey to ever more bizarre alternative healers. I have seen the movie four times, and it just keeps on getting better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovered for the First Time Dec 2 2003
I had seen a brief bit of this when I was younger and always wondered what movie that was where a guy just sits there talking to a camera. Well luckily, I accidently discovered it again. I wasn't sure a movie like this could actually carry more for 2 hours but when it was over, I was amazed that time had passed so quickly. Spawlding is a great storyteller, and you will not be bored, guaranteed. Now, how much of it is true? That I wonder. But who cares, 'cause movies aren't usually true anyway, even when they claim to be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful Sept. 10 2003
entertaining, well fleshed out with the stories of other patients - Spalding Gray at his best.
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