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Some of the precise meanings of this Bill Forsyth comedy eluded me, but the vibes couldn't have been nicer. What's off-putting at first is that both the title and the man-through-the-ages format—Robin Williams playing no fewer than five fellows named Hector: a caveman, a Roman Empire slave, a medieval traveler, a Portuguese shipwreck survivor, and a divorced landlord in contemporary Manhattan—promise the worst kind of universalist banality; fortunately, it never materializes. The overall conceit may be arch, but as narrator Theresa Russell periodically points out, this is a story about stories; and this being a Forsyth movie, everything—even customary overactors like Williams, John Turturro, and Lorraine Bracco—is scaled down to human proportions. The movie leaves you feeling there's more to it than meets the eye. With Anna Galiena, Vincent D'Onofrio, Hector Elizondo, and Lindsay Crouse.

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