The Theory Of Flight

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The Theory Of Flight

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The Theory Of Flight

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Which group is more cynical: actors who flock to attention-grabbing roles as invalids, or people who dismiss actors who flock to attention-grabbing roles as invalids? There are a number of things wrong with The Theory Of Flight, but Helena Bonham Carter, as a young woman stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, and Kenneth Branagh, as an eccentric artist who for some reason is sentenced by a court to keep Carter company, aren't the problem. Actors shouldn't be faulted for pursuing flashy roles. Instead, filmmakers should be faulted for making movies as mediocre and mawkish as this one. There's something fishy about the PSA that precedes the film: Carter may be sincere about fighting ALS, but there's something about her mini-monologue that strikes as a self-satisfied "before" to the contorted "after" she displays throughout the movie. Fortunately, The Theory Of Flight is a little more than just another pity party. The film quickly moves beyond "I'm crippled and proud!" propaganda and into more universal territory. Carter is lonely and dying, and, more than anything else, she wants to lose her virginity before motoring up that long wheelchair-accessible ramp to heaven. Few movies deal so explicitly with the sexuality of the physically disabled, and if The Theory Of Flight is too often played for sentimentality—and peppered with lame musical montages—it deserves some credit for bringing two potentially show-offy performances down to the mundane world of everyday neuroses.

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