Fearless (1993 film)

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Fearless is a 1993 film directed by Peter Weir and written by Rafael Yglesias from his novel of the same name. It was shot entirely in California.

Rosie Perez was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Carla Rodrigo. (She lost to Anna Paquin for The Piano.) Jeff Bridges' role as Max Klein is widely regarded as one of the best performances of his career.[1][2][3] The film's soundtrack features part of the first movement of Henryk Górecki's Symphony No. 3, subtitled Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

Contents

Plot summary

While taking a business trip, Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) survives a crash of a flight headed from San Francisco to Houston. As the plane was descending, Max inexplicably became at peace when he accepted he was going to die. The revelation coaxed him to take it upon himself to comfort many of the fearful passengers, even moving to sit next to Byron Hummel (Daniel Cerny), a young boy flying alone. The psychological trauma of the experience transforms his personality and he enters an altered state of consciousness; rethinking his life and becoming preoccupied with existential questions of life and death.

Immediately after the crash, Max, one of the plane's few survivors, rents a car and drives from the crash site in Bakersfield to Los Angeles, stopping on the way to see his old high school sweetheart, Alison (Debra Monk), who he hadn't visited in 20 years. During their meal at a restaurant, Alison notices Max eating a strawberry and inquires about his allergy to them. Max grins and explains he's "gotten past" his allergic reaction and confidently finishes it with no problems. He's tracked down at a hotel room the next morning by F.B.I. agents who question his odd choice to not contact his wife and family or remain at the crash site with the other survivors. The airline sends a representative who compensates him with train tickets to go home to San Francisco. Max declines the tickets, stating adamantly he wants to fly home and has no fear of air travel anymore. On the flight, he meets Dr. Bill Perlman (John Turturro), an airline-contracted psychiatrist who offers to counsel Max with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr Perlman accompanies Max back to his home where his wife Lauren (Isabella Rossellini) begins noticing his strange behavior. Max matter-of-factly informs Nan Gordon (Deirdre O'Connell), the wife of his friend and business partner, that her husband Jeff (John de Lancie) died in the crash. The media dubs Max "The Good Samaritan" and tries to interview him as Byron comes to publicly thank him for the way he comforted the passengers during the crash, but Max avoids making a statement. Over time, Max becomes distant from Lauren and his son Jonah (Spencer Vrooman) because of his preoccupation with his near death experience. He comes to think of himself as invulnerable to death, causing Dr Perlman to become concerned with Max's delusion. Perlman encourages Max to meet with another survivor, Carla Rodrigo (Rosie Perez) in the hopes that the two can help support one another. Carla, who lost her baby son in the crash, struggles with survivor's guilt, punishing herself for not holding onto him tight enough when his seat belt on the plane malfunctioned. Max and Carla bond and develop an intimate friendship as he helps her to get past her depression and free herself from her guilt.

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