Julie Walking Home | Chicago Reader

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Director Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa) has a fairly solid reputation, but you'd never know it from this awkwardly executed, poorly paced, strangely unaffecting story about a boy dying of cancer, his agnostic mother, and a faith healer. The script, which Holland wrote with Arlene Sarner and Roman Gren, tends toward exchanges that announce the underlying tensions; when the mother bluntly says, “I don't need some priest to tell me what to believe,” you know she's in for a miraculous conversion. The actors do what they can with the material—Lothaire Bluteau as the faith healer manages a nice mix of inner pain and outward calm—but Holland keeps shoving them from one big, overwrought emotional crescendo to the next. At times the film even seems to be bullying us with the dying child: “Feel something, or the kid gets it!” Also known as The Healer. 118 min.

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