Passion Fish

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Passion Fish
Passion Fish.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Sayles
Produced bySarah Green
Maggie Renzi
Screenplay byJohn Sayles
Music byMason Daring
CinematographyRoger Deakins
Edited byJohn Sayles
Distributed byMiramax Films(sold to Sony Pictures Entertainment)
Release date
  • December 11, 1992 (1992-12-11) (United States)
Running time
135 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million[1]
Box office$4,814,619

Passion Fish is a 1992 American film written and directed by John Sayles. The film stars Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard, Vondie Curtis-Hall, David Strathairn, Leo Burmester, and Angela Bassett.

It tells the story of a soap opera star, paralyzed after being struck by a taxi, who is forced to return to her family home and rely upon a series of nurses, forcing each of them to leave her employment until one shows up guaranteed to stay.


May-Alice Culhane, a New York daytime soap opera actress, is left paralyzed after an accident on her way to getting her legs waxed, which she finds ironic. As the film opens, she lies in a hospital bed, confused and scared, watching her own show on TV and shrieking, "That was supposed to be my close-up!"

With no other options, she returns to her family's old and empty home in Louisiana, where she drinks hard, offends every caregiver and wallows in self-pity.

Her outlook begins to change with the arrival of Chantelle, a nurse with her own life problems. The two gradually find a heartfelt connection with each other, and as a result, their lives subtly change.



It holds a 100% "Certified Fresh" and average rating of 7.7/10 on review site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 23 reviews.

Box office[edit]

Passion Fish received a limited release on December 9, 1992,[2] running for one week, the minimum required to make it eligible for consideration at the next year's Academy Awards.[3] The film earned $36,332 (14,385 of that in the weekend) in the week from showings in two theaters.[2] After receiving Academy Award nominations in February 1993, the film was released to 191 theaters, where it earned over 99% of its gross of $4.8 million.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee Result
65th Academy Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Mary McDonnell Nominated
Best Original Screenplay John Sayles Nominated
1993 Flanders International Film Festival Grand Prix John Sayles Won
50th Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Mary McDonnell Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Alfre Woodard Nominated
1992 Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male David Strathairn Nominated
Best Supporting Female Alfre Woodard Won
1992 Writers Guild of America Awards Best Original Screenplay John Sayles Nominated


  1. ^ Gerry Molyneaux, "John Sayles, Renaissance Books, 2000 p 205
  2. ^ a b "Passion Fish". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (1992-12-14). "Passion Fish". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-11.
  4. ^ "Passion Fish". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-05-11.

External links[edit]