The English Patient
- 2 hr 42 min
The English Patient is a historical-fiction romantic drama based on a novel by Michael Ondaatje. It stars Ralph Fiennes as a disfigured, badly burned patient and Juliette Binoche as his dedicated nurse to whom he reveals a tale of forbidden love, intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy all set within the backdrop of World War II. In the late 1930's, Count Laslo de Almasy decides to lead an archaeological expedition with his English friend, Madox, and a British couple who joins them to see the "Cave of Swimmers," a site where prehistoric paintings of figures swimming was found in the Sahara. Though not very interested in politics, the four of them can't help but comment on their opinions of the matters surrounding them, but at the same time, the group is somewhat jaded to the severity of the war. During an excursion into the North African desert, an astonishing archaeological find leaves the group completely captivated, but Count Almassy finds the moment pales in comparison to spending time with fellow explorer Katherine, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, whose charm fascinates him even though she is married. After a near-death experience, the two grow closer and eventually act on their increasing feelings for one another. Some time later, a nurse named Hana takes refuge with her morphine-dependent invalid patient in an abandoned Italian monastery during the last few days of World War II. She meets and begins to fall in love with a Sikh British-Indian lieutenant named Kip whose job is to diffuse bombs left behind by the enemy. Meanwhile, her patient (Fiennes) clings to his ebbing life while relaying the story of how he became injured. Revealed in a series of flashbacks, the tale of the two lovers and their entwined fates is also overheard by a morphine-addicted drifter, Caravaggio (Willem Dafoe), who is searching for a Count whose treasonous actions may have resulted murder, a suicide, and the loss of his torture.