The Power to Heal Others, But Not Himself, in One Fall


If director Marcus Dean Fuller had synthesized the genres referenced and tones struck in the script he co-wrote with Richard Greenberg, One Fall might have been the eccentric yet emotional flick intended. Instead, its ambitions—family drama meets quirky character study meets supernatural-tinged existential musing, all speckled with sitcom inflections—ironically underscore how slight it is. Prodigal son James (Fuller), a brusque ex-con, returns to his small town carrying the ability to heal physical ailments (even terminal illness) with his touch. He’s also burdened with a terrible secret that threatens to be the kryptonite to his gift. His getting a job in the hospital where his brother and former fiancée both work, and where his father is recovering from a stroke sets the stage for all manner of recriminations and reconciliations. Things are complicated when James pimps his gift for profit but can’t seem to heal his own father. Egged on by an effete, chatty next-door neighbor (a boy who buries himself in comics to escape school bullies), James has to learn to make peace with his past in order for his gift to really blossom. The cast is engaging, and there are a few light-chuckle moments, but the script needed another rewrite, and the film itself needed to be guided by a thornier sensibility than Fuller’s.