Hysterical [1983]

Director: Chris Bearde
Stars: Bill Hudson, Mark Hudson, Brett Hudson, Cindy Pickett, Richard Kiel
Genre: Comedy, Horror
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 87 minutes

Uma Thurman is painful to watch in Hysterical Blindness--and that's a compliment. Thurman completely gives herself over to her trashy character, a pathetically self-deluding good-time girl who hangs out in a tavern in Bayonne, New Jersey, circa 1987. She occupies the bar stool next to her best bud (a dead-on Juliette Lewis), willing herself to believe that an obviously indifferent pick-up is Mr. Right. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) directed this familiar but nicely-rendered HBO production; her visual style, full of obscured sightlines and opaque glass, emphasizes the heroine's inability to see clearly. Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara, as Thurman's mom and her gentleman suitor, add an echo of Cassavetes realism. But it's Thurman's tour de force, capturing the kind of lost soul whose idea of first-date chat is to break an awkward silence by boasting about her best sexual skill. She will make you cringe. --Robert Horton

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