Gray’s Anatomy (Soderbergh, 1996) is the last proper cinematic monologue we have from Spalding Gray. That’s a little ironic. Here, he navigates neuroses, a serious eye injury, and what he terms the Bermuda Triangle of health to come out the other side a little wiser, more experienced, and with his vision intact. It’s no small metaphor. Along the way, we hear from others who have suffered ocular mishaps. These are sometimes grisly stories and they go a long way to underline the fragility and importance of sight. As lifetime moviegoers, vision is obviously central to our existence and way of life. It never hurts to get a reminder not to take it for granted, especially one as funny and poignant as this.
Gray’s Anatomy has taken on a whole new significance for me, as well. This month, I am undergoing dual eye surgeries for cataract removal. One actually took place on the eve of recording this episode. So, as you can imagine, I am more sensitive to what is happening here than perhaps during previous watches. The cataracts were the result of what turned out to be type two diabetes. As a result, there has been a lot of reevaluation taking place around here for a few months. Diet and exercise are getting that under control without having to rely on medicine, thankfully. But the eyes, that’s a different ballgame. So, it seemed like the perfect time to go back to this, consider the importance of that, and revisit an old friend that we lost too soon. As the film instructs us in the opening moments, “watch now, use your eyes”.
What you’ll find in this episode: eye injuries, treatments both traditional and otherwise, my health odyssey this year, and medicine as theatre.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Gray’s Anatomy on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of The Hospital.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Swimming to Cambodia.
A masterclass on how to write a monologue.
A history of psychic surgery in the Philippines.