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Gray's Anatomy (Criterion Collection)

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

One of the great raconteurs of stage and screen, Spalding Gray (Swimming to Cambodia), came together with one of cinema’s boldest image-makers, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic), for Gray's Anatomy, a spellbinding adaptation of Gray’s 1993 monologue of the same name (cowritten with Renée Shafransky). In it, Gray, with typical sardonic relish, chronicles his arduous journey through the diagnosis and treatment of a rare and alarming ocular condition. For the monologist, this experience occasioned a meditation on illness and mortality, medicine and metaphysics; for the filmmaker, it was a chance to experiment with ways of bringing his subject’s words to brilliant, eye-opening life.

Special Features

  • New high definition digital transfer, supervised by director Steven Soderbergh
  • New interviews with Soderbergh and cowriter Renee Shafransky
  • A Personal History of the American Theater, a monologue by Spalding Gray
  • Theatrical trailer
  • English subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Amy Taubin

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Spalding Gray
    • Directors: Steven Soderbergh
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated: Unrated
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2012
    • Run Time: 79 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B007N5YJVQ
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,267 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "fastlearner" on August 3, 2000
    Format: VHS Tape
    Incredible writer and monologuist Spalding Gray takes us on an incredible journey, around the world and through his soul. Though based on his his attempts to avoid dangerous eye surgery, the story is really about meeting fascinating characters and Gray's own fascinating neuroses. If the idea of a monologue sounds boring to you -- basically Gray sitting and telling you a story -- I especially challenge you to try this out.
    While dry, Gray's humor keeps you laughing out loud. You'll find it mesmerizing, and at the end of your own journey through the film, changed for the better. Highly recommended.
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    16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1998
    Format: VHS Tape
    As good as or better than "Swimming to Cambodia" and "Monster in a Box", except this time there is more. Surreal sceneries and sounds are added for effect, as well as short testimonials by "people on the street" describing their own unusual eye ailments. Gray always fascinated me...his unique perspective on life and the way he deals with it. I would also recommend reading "Impossible Vacation" (the subject of "Monster in a Box"). Very few books can affect me like that did.
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    15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Birdman on March 22, 2004
    Format: DVD
    Spalding Gray's death has left us poorer than when we started. How evident this is after viewing this edgy, moving, often riotous monologue directed by Stephen Soderbergh.
    A macular "pucker" leaves Gray virtually blind in one eye. Born into Christian Science, Gray leaves the church when his CS practitioner demands he renounce allopathic medicine to receive help. Gray's breathless journeys through alternative healing remind us that we all face mortality at any cost, and that no religious or philosopical system will spare us the inevitability of suffering or dying.
    What I loved most about this film were Gray's frequent outbursts of humor -- framed in frustration, delivered in sentences which resonate like poetry in the mind, this guy rages -- quite literally -- against the dying of the light. And I would add that this is a film best viewed late at night.
    While Soderbergh's direction is occasionally heavy-handed and self- conscious, it is still creative and ambitious and will never disqualify this film from classic status.
    The movie doesn't benefit from the opening montage of "eye horror stories" delivered by subjects who almost lost their sight, and who occasionally make an unwelcome visit into Gray's monologue. Happily, Gray gets 'round them.
    The man had a brilliant, brilliant mind and a great heart. Watch this, and the only thing you risk is awareness of his absence, and it is a sad feeling.
    I just loved this movie, or should I say: I loved this mirror.
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    4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nameless Faceless User on September 19, 2004
    Format: DVD
    This is a wonderful example of the 'gift of gab' - that is, the art of telling a story. Spalding Gray has a story to tell - mind you, the plot is not nearly as interesting as, say, a Jedi Knight fighting a battle in a galaxy far, far away. It is not so much what he has to say, but how he says it. If one of your favorite childhood memories includes sitting around a campfire listening to someone spinning a yarn about a headless ghost, then you might enjoy this more adult version of a scary story. Substitute the encounter with a headless horseman with an even more frightening trip to see a doctor to diagnose an incurable medical condition and you may start to understand this movie. It was fascinating listening to his tangential logic, flashbacks, and digressions of a gifted story teller. It is also somewhat of an insight into the mind Spalding Gray, whose favorite story was the life experience he gained by walking around Washington Square Park several times, breathing in all of life's drama.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By carol irvin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2013
    Format: DVD
    once you get it, you will never forget it: to wit, how unique and singular it is to be a great storyteller. we discover this by the way this show opens. a slew of people from everyday life tell their stories of how an eye condition altered their lives. i found myself nodding off as i sat through this, admiring the infrared film but finding the rest of it yawn inducing. then i was electrified by spalding gray's coming onscreen. by solely using his monolog skills, he holds me spellbound while he relates his eye injury story. it is a story i will never forget because its telling sears it into my memory.

    it was sad to realize anew what a huge talent we lost with his suicide in 2004. ironically, with life later imitating art, spalding gray was in a serious car collision after he filmed this. he could not handle the pain, the constant physical therapy, the constant use of crutchess, etc., this in part led to his suicide. in this film we watch his hysteria over the prospect of a low risk eye surgery for the not painful condition of macular puckering in the eye. he was a complete mess over this eye problem alone but in a very woody allen like neurotic way.

    Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
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