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The Healer

3.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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(Oct 19, 2004)
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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Miranda Otto, William Fichtner, Lothaire Bluteau, Ryan Smith, Bianca Crudo
  • Directors: Agnieszka Holland
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English, Polish, Russian
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Alchemy / Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2004
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002KQNN6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,394 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Healer" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"The Healer" is the Australian television name for an independent film (a joint Canadian-Polish production) that was originally entitled "Julie Walking Home." Knowing both titles for this 2002 film, and the interesting combination of nations the production represents, is key because it really is two different movies thrown together with some degree of success. I checked it out because I wanted to see Miranda Otto in it (big Éowyn fan) and knew absolutely nothing about it (my assumption was that she would be the title character since her face is the only one on the cover, but that proves not to be the case).

After the prologue in which we since the healer first being a healer, "Julie Walking Home" would describe the first act of this film from director Agnieszka Holland ("Washington Square"). Julie Makowsky (Miranda Otto) comes home early from a trip with her eight-year-old twins, Nick (Ryan Smith) and Nicole (Bianca Crudo), and gets an unpleasant surprise from her husband, Henry (Willaim Fichtner). Her response is to take the kids and leave immediately, but they are in the back of the car screaming about daddy running after them and one of the twins gets out. As far as Julie is concerned her marriage is over and I was intrigued by the notion of a pair of twins, who are closer than most twins, torn apart by a divorce. But that is not with this film is about because before the family can break apart one of the twins gets sick.

The doctors say there is no hope and from a most unexpected source Julie hears about Alexei the healer (Lothair Bluteau), a Russian who is laying hands on the sick and dying in Poland. So she packs up her dying child over her husband's objections and heads to Europe.
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Format: DVD
The film THE HEALER (a.k.a. "Julie Walking Home") poses the kind of unsettling metaphysical questions that many prefer to avoid asking. At the same time, it suggests some intriguing answers. Like the film THE CRIME OF PADRE AMARO (please see companion review) the movie "The Healer" is a study of the degrees to which human beings can enjoy the gift of human sexuality while simultaneously attempting to serve as channels for spiritual healing, social harmony, and political integrity. That Alexei--played flawlessly by Lothaire Bluteau--is a true and gifted spiritual healer becomes clear from the outset. We witness him as a child in a hospital where doctors discover that standing him on the back of an ailing patient relieves the patient's pain. Moreover, his very presence apparently has a healing impact on every patient in the ward. As an adult, Alexei becomes famous as a healer who shares his gifts freely with the world. But like the proverbial prophet without honor in his own hometown, he has to endure the complaints of an aging mother who points out that not only is his spiritual generosity towards the world doing nothing to alleviate her financial distress but it is perhaps not the best way to prepare for his own latter years.

Much of "The Healer" actually centers around the rift that occurs in the life of the Makowskys, a Canadian family whose happiness is torn asunder when the husband--played with superb complexity by William Fichtner--has an affair, and the young son develops cancer. Is the child's disease a physical manifestation of the family's spiritual dis-ease following the father's adultery? Good question to ponder.

In her desperation to save their son, the mother--exemplary work here by Miranda Otto--seeks out the assistance of the healer Alexei.
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By Mr. Ed on September 2, 2005
Format: DVD
There is some really good acting by all the cast which is why it deserved the two stars. As another reviewer stated, the plot threads are left unresolved and the ending seemed kind of like someone said, "ok, here's the two hour mark. Wrap it up." I did like that they were starting to explore the issue of religious and spiritual beliefs, but they dropped it pretty quickly. How does the healing of her child effect the mother's own spiritual belief system? Dunno. It was like, kid healed, end of story.(not end of movie--I didn't spoil the ending). Mother has affair with healer and then poof, he's gone. Why? Where'd he go? What's he up to now? How did this affair effect him after he went back to his country? Dunno.

The script needed some healing.
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Format: VHS Tape
Please read the other reviews on this if you are considering buying this dvd. Depending on what you want it for it might be unnecessary to buy it since it is being shown on tv these days: I saw it on LMN today.

All the actors are what makes it brilliant: Miranda Otto is radiant and warm in this changing role of wife, mother, lover, Lothair Bluteau as Alexei the healer is translucent in his role of someone who surrenders to something bigger than himself.

Spiritual healing is what makes it moving. Stories about the spiritual world are being covered more and more these days, happily so for those of us who look for them. Miranda's character Julie has no religious beliefs but her favorite song is "Wayfaring Stranger" which is about dying and going "over Jordan," symbolic for Heaven. That was a nice touch in showing her blossoming awareness, which makes me think the original screenplay was better than the movie turned out.

Unfinished? As others here have said, I think the disappointing part was that the movie stopped abruptly, with a tacked on scene of Julie and husband seemingly reunited when just minutes earlier she and Alexei were in love and expecting a baby. I blinked and the movie was over. I think if you know this in advance you could watch the movie with less need for it to make sense and more appreciation for the subject matter.
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