“I Won’t Be Going South for a While”

From one of the best love stories ever told, Leaving Las Vegas, directed by Mike Figgis from John O’Brien’s novel of the same name.   It tells of a doomed love affair between a Las Vegas prostitute named Sera (Elisabeth Shue) and a man, Ben (Nicholas Cage), determined to drink himself to death.  It received some terrible reviews because the death-by-alcohol of Cage’s character wasn’t portrayed realistically, with emaciation, lots of projectile vomiting, and internal bleeding.

But the realistic depiction of alcoholism was not the subject of the story.  The subject was Sera’s very real love for this hopeless man.

Cage won an Oscar for his performance.  It was a powerful job of acting, but pretty much a one-note:  Ben is set on dying, and he does.  Sera actually goes through some beautiful changes, all culminating in true love, and in her realization of the same.  Of course, Shue is not Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew, so who cares?

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