The Blue Butterfly (2004)

Since I saw William Hurt in the film, The Doctor, I've been a big fan of his work. That's what led me to watch The Blue Butterfly. In this film, he's an asocial entomologist who makes his living by sharing his love and knowledge of six legged creepy crawlies with his television audience. To get enough bugs, he makes trips down to the jungles of South America. Meanwhile, a wheelchair bound boy is diagnosed with brain cancer, and it's the terminal, really bad kind that even the local children's hospital realizes they've done all they can do, and it's simply not enough. The child decides he has one final wish before his imminent death: to see the rare blue butterfly.

Hurt becomes a reluctant hero as he gets cajoled into a trip way down South, and gives the disclaimer up front that in all probability they missed the butterfly season. Still, the kid's not making to next year's season, so why not give it a try, and give a dying boy his wish? What follows is a visually appealing journey through the Costa Rican jungle in pursuit of this most rarest butterfly. Without giving too much away, I was kind of surprised to learn that the child was cured of his cancer, and this was based on a true story.

“Huh?” I exclaimed. Next thing I know, I'm wondering exactly what type of cancer he had, and how aggressive it was. I'm starting to wonder how bad it had looked on CT, and what the resolution was like in 1989 when this reportedly took place. Also, this started in Canada, so maybe he didn't have the benefit of an MRI? Without having the benefit of rereviewing the path slides, or the original radiology, we can only guess if he was really cured of his cancer, or merely misdiagnosed somehow.

At any rate, it certainly was a worthwhile journey for the child, and Hurt grows in the process. I'm divided on the worthwhileness of this trip for the rest of us. It's visually interesting, but the end kind of left me flat. Still, unfortunately, I've seen far worse (with the writer's strike going on and on, maybe I'm running out of good films to watch).

Overall Grade: B-

Reviewed by Jonas

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