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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cage & Shue give the performances of their careers...
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Leaving Las Vegas, upon release, was praised for what a powerful film it was. I didn't watch it up until about a couple of years ago. Mainly because I'm not a Nicolas Cage fan. But this is undeniably one of the greatest performances of the 1990's. Elisabeth Shue also turns in a raving performance, as a Vegas call girl. Ben (Cage in his...
Published on March 11 2004 by DVDaHolic

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a movie to see if you're feeling low...
This is one of the most unremittlingly depressing movies I have ever seen. That said, it is well made, and the lead actors do a credible job. My main argument is that very few hookers look like Elizabeth Shue, and the relationship between two very troubled individuals is somewhat glamorized and made to look poetic, when in reality, it would be pathetic.
If you're...
Published on March 18 2002 by CT


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping but depressing, March 16 2007
By 
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
After reading several reviews about this film I feel that many people are missing the point of it. This is NOT a movie about alcoholism. If it were then it would be about Ben's battle against alcohol, or at the very least Sera attempting to persuade Ben to battle it, but other than a few feeble attempts (asking Ben to go see a doctor, asking Ben if he wants her to help him) she leaves Ben alone, much like she promised.

This is a love story, and a great one at that. This is a different kind of love story than you usually come across because both Ben and Sera accept one another for who they are, they do not try and change one another even if it would be for the better. It's not that the characters are pleased with each other's problems, or even that they are indifferent about them, but they accept them. They learn to look past the other's flaws and are able to find love.

This movie shows that anyone is able to find love, no matter how screwed up their lives may be. It shows that you often find love when you are least expecting it. After all I'm sure Ben's suicide would have been much quicker had he not met Sera. And if Sera hadn't have met Ben she wouldn't have to feel the pain of losing someone she loves. But they found each other anyways and for those couple weeks that they were together they seemed happy. The depressing part of this film is that it also shows that love is simply not enough. Even though Ben loved Sera it was not enough to save his life.

I would give this film 4.5 stars if it were an option, it loses the half star because of the soundtrack. While many people may love the soundtrack I don't care for it, even though it is fitting and really sets the atmosphere, it becomes repetitive and at times drowns out some of the dialogue. Regardless, I still recommend watching this film at least once, even though at times it can be difficult to watch. I rarely come across films that hit me this hard and stay with me for this long. It is one of the most powerful films you will ever see.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cage & Shue give the performances of their careers..., March 11 2004
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Leaving Las Vegas, upon release, was praised for what a powerful film it was. I didn't watch it up until about a couple of years ago. Mainly because I'm not a Nicolas Cage fan. But this is undeniably one of the greatest performances of the 1990's. Elisabeth Shue also turns in a raving performance, as a Vegas call girl. Ben (Cage in his Oscar-winning role) is a movie executive whose also a hopeless alcoholic. After losing his job and family, Ben sets off to Las Vegas with his severance pay, to drink himself to death. Along the way he meets a beautiful call girl by the name of Sera (Shue in her Oscar-nominated role) and soon after they fall for each other. Neither one of them is ever tearing the other down for their problems and seem to find peace with one another. This movie works on many levels. The main one is the love story -- that's anything but conventional. The other is the alcohol. We watch Ben kill himself slowly with massive ammounts of alcohol-- at some point, wishing he would just say no. The same for Sera, who is a genuine character you care about, you just want her to say no. I'm hoping MGM will release a nice little 2-Disc set for this movie. Some extras would be nice -- especially some deleted scenes and maybe some behind-the-scenes. The DVD -- both sound and video wise -- is excellent, it just lacks special features. All in all, the movie is one of the best of 1995 -- considering that it was up against such greats as Braveheart and Dead Man Walking.
Leaving Las Vegas was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including:
Actor In A Leading Role -- Nicolas Cage {"Ben"}
Actress In A Leading Role -- Elisabeth Shue {"Sera"}
Directing -- Mike Figgis
Best Adapted Screenplay -- Mike Figgis
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL, Feb. 12 2004
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
The 2 viewers who talked about how 'boring' and 'lame' this movie is and the crack about 'getting to AA'--you're completely missing the point of the movie. Perhaps you should stick to the simpler stuff. The POINT of the movie is not about alcoholism, it is about total acceptance of one another--a trait that few people in life seem to master well, (even with people without the issues that the characters Ben and Sera have). Yes, it is sad and I wouldn't advise someone to watch it if they're depressed--but the performances of Cage and Shue are incredible and touching. It is a powerful movie which reflects true unconditional, albeit tragic, love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Tragedy, Dec 2 2003
By 
Randy E. Aveille "raveille" (Fort Lauderdale, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
I saw this movie several times in the theatre and bought it when it came out on video. It had a tremendously melancholic effect on me for days. I imagine that many people who enjoyed the movie could somehow relate to it, even if in an abstract way. Nick Cage's portrayal of Ben, a man who has hit rock bottom and has lost his will to live, is incredibly powerful and moving; and so is Elisabeth Shue's portrayal of Sera.
After having lost all control to his alcohol addiction, Ben's life starts to spiral downhill once he loses his family, and subsequently, his job. Ben decides to take a trip to Vegas, but not before taking everything he owns and burning it (a sign that he will not be returning). He goes to Vegas with nothing but the clothes on his back, a huge stockpile of booze, just enough money for a room at the Whole Year Inn (which he reads as "The Hole You're In"), and enough booze to binge on until he dies.
Along the way he meets Sera, a prostitute, and seems to feel a personal connection with her. They do not hit-it-off immediately, but the two connect later during their time together. Their bond becomes passionately deep and Sera gets attached to Ben emotionally. Ironically, Ben is smitten with Sera, and he knows he could start a new life and love with Sera, were it not for the fate he has indomitably accepted.
Although most people would judge and condemn a man like Ben in real life, I was very sympathetic to the character and his pain. I also felt Sera's humanity pierce through the cold wall she puts up as a defense mechanism. Ben has touched her in a way that no one has, and though at first she accepts Ben's death wish as a condition for their new "relationship," Sera becomes conflicted about losing Ben--creating a distraction that Ben had not intended on.
This is a great movie with excellent performances from both its stars. Just don't expect to walk away feeling hopeful or happy; because as it is in reality, life does not always have a happy ending, and this movie is a depiction of that reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique masterpiece., Oct. 17 2003
By 
Stuart Winer (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
This kind of movie is an acquired taste.
That said, every emotion in this film rang true for
me. These people seemed real and very vulnerable, especially Elizabeth Shue. It was just spare enough to say the important things in the relationship, leaving out all the detritus and other pointless details.
Mike Figgis really looked closely at these people at their worst moments and didn't flinch. I was fascinated - it spoke right to the deepest part of the human condition.
This is a rare work of art that will outlast us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE ONLY MOVIE TO EVER MAKE ME CRY, May 28 2004
By 
Michael Kotrba (Palatine, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
i could go on and on but i wont, the facts are a) this is probably the most dramatic movie ever made and b) nic cage is the best actor on the planet. holy smokes was he amazing in this and elisabeth shue is perfect by all standards. i also dig "the third man" tributes in there - good job all around tonite i decided this is my favorite movie....which might last a week but it will remain top five forever. I know its a little late but seriously...congrats nic cage you kick ass.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fine performances, audio could have been better, Feb. 2 2004
By 
Roger Pomona (Cawker City, KS) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
When I heard that someone had finally made a movie based on the Cheryl Crow hit "I'm Leaving Las Vegas", I knew I had to see it. I was certainly not disappointed. Nicolas Cage turned in his best performance since his role as stoner slacker Jeff Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". One important thing to note before you purchase this is that unlike his other Las Vegas movie, "Honeymoon in Vegas" where he dresses up like Elvis and skydives, this is not a comedy, unless you happen to think someone drinking themselves to death is funny. If you DO think self-destructive alcoholism is funny, then get ready to laugh your head off because that is what Nicolas Cage's character is all about. As he spirals towards his demise, he meets hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Elizabeth Shoe who tries to save him from
himself. I could go on but I don't want to ruin the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it. I missed 5 minutes out of the middle because I had to take an important call, but I had no problem catching up with the plot, so I guess that means the movie could have been edited a little better. The only thing that keeps me from giving this 5 stars is that the sound mix was a tad muddy for my ears, although most non-audiophiles probably won't notice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Love Story, Oct. 5 2003
By 
Douglas King (Cincinnati, OH United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
This is one of the rare occasions where I think this movie was actually better than the book. Nicholas Cage and Elisabeth Shue bring a depth and vulnerability to their film characters that the more detached characters in the book seemed to lack. The result is a heartbreaking story about two people who, while hitting rock bottom, find true love. Ben, a suicidal alcoholic, and Sera, a prostitute, are the kind of people that the rest of the world likes to sweep under the rug. So since neither character has any pretense, any ego, or anything really to lose, they are able to come together and love each other in a sincere and unconditional way. The result is that the film, although incredibly sad, is also strangely inspiring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Depressingly brilliant, Sept. 2 2003
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
Let me start off by saying that this is one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen. Don't buy this thinking it will reward you with an uplifting experience by the end of the film.
That being said, Leaving Las Vegas truly is a fantastic movie. It is a sad tale of a man with nothing to lose going on a suicidal drinking binge in Las Vegas. I saw this film almost immediately after Con Air, in which Nicholas Cage's acting is underwhelming to say the least. Before seeing Leaving Las Vegas, I already had a closed mind about Nicholas Cage's talent; to be truthful I thought he was only famous because his uncle directed the Godfather. Even though he will of course never read this review, I feel I must apologize for ever thinking such a thing.
Nicholas Cage was absolutely incredible in this film. Throughout the entire movie his character was drunk and Cage portrayed this character with as much talent as the world's best actors. Leaving Las Vegas is by far his best movie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Three Words: Brutal, Honest, and Beautiful, July 5 2003
This review is from: Leaving Las Vegas (DVD)
I have never written a review for amazon.com before, but I was so touched by this film that I thought I could share my thoughts with others. I have seen numerous movies in my life that have story lines about love. Unlike other films,though, this one doesn't try to manipulate the viewer's feelings. The honesty in this dark movie is what makes it soar above any other film.
These characters aren't people you envy or admire; they are just lost souls who are simply looking for love and acceptance. This film effortlessly makes you care so much for the characters because it presents them as flawed human beings who want nothing more than to feel love and to give love. This movie is touched me so deeply because it was a visual representation of feelings of my own life when I am forced to drop my guard and examine my own life and person I truly am. Please, don't even bother reading anymore reviews because this movie will brings tears to your eyes as a result of its unwillingness to give into the boring cliches and stereotypes that ruin so many other movies. If you can handle thinking outside of the box, you will be deeply rewarded
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Leaving Las Vegas
Leaving Las Vegas by Mike Figgis (DVD - 2003)
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