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Phenomenon (1996) ****1/2

02.29, 2008 Author: Manhattan Movie Maniac

phenomenon.jpgDirector: Jon Turtletaub

Starring: John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duval,

Some rare motion pictures have the power to fill us with a sense of wonder and cause us to speculate on the possibilities, beyond what we think we know. Phenomenon is one of these scarce films, though not everyone seemed to see this aspect of the picture, as it made its way to becoming a favorite of many and ignored by many more. The acting is strong and the characters are appealing and authentic, but the real star here is screenwriter Gerald Di Pego’s wonderful story.

John Travolta is Gearoge Malley, a simple, small town mechanic who is trying to figure out how rabbits are eating his garden, and how to win the heart of the beautiful maker of ugly chairs named Lacey (Kyra Sedgwick). His entire life changes when he sees a bright light that knocks him from his feet, and stuns all those who know him, when people notice that he is becoming smarter, and smarter, but that’s not all that’s changed about George Malley. But how has he changed and where is it all going?

Phenomenon is a similar story to that of the 1968 feature, Charly (based on the novel, Flowers For Algernon) and is a delightful film that will make you wonder about the possibilities of human abilities. This is wrapped up in a wonderful story with characters that you will quickly grow to care about.

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