Dying Young

Dying Young is a 1991 American romance film directed by Joel Schumacher.[3] It is based on a novel of the same name by Marti Leimbach, and stars Julia Roberts and Campbell Scott with Vincent D'Onofrio, Colleen Dewhurst, David Selby, and Ellen Burstyn.[4] The original music score was composed by James Newton Howard,[4] with the main song "Theme from Dying Young" performed by American saxophonist Kenny G.

Dying Young
Promotional poster
Directed byJoel Schumacher
Produced bySally Field
Kevin McCormick
Written byMarti Leimbach
Richard Friedenberg
Music byJames Newton Howard
Kenny G
CinematographyJuan Ruiz Anchía
Edited byRobert Brown
Jim Prior
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 21, 1991 (1991-06-21)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million[1]
Box office$82,264,675[2]


Hilary O'Neil (Julia Roberts) is a pretty, outgoing yet cautious young woman who has had little luck in work or love. After recently parting ways with her boyfriend when she caught him cheating, Hilary finds herself living with her eccentric mother (Ellen Burstyn). One day, Hilary answers an ad in a newspaper for a nurse only to find herself being escorted out before the interview starts.

Victor Geddes (Campbell Scott) is a well-educated, rich, and shy 28-year-old. As the film progresses, Victor's health worsens progressively, due to leukemia. Despite his father's protests, Victor hires Hilary to be his live-in caretaker while he undergoes a traumatic course of chemotherapy. Hilary becomes insecure of her ability to care for Victor after her first exposure to the side effects of his chemotherapy treatment. She researches leukemia and stocks healthier food in the kitchen.

Victor is "finished" with his chemotherapy and suggests they take a vacation to the coast. They rent a house and Hilary begins to feel that she is no longer needed to care for him. They fall in love and continue living at the coast. Victor hides his use of morphine to kill the pain. During dinner with one of the friends they made at the coast, Victor starts acting aggressively and irrationally. He collapses and is helped to bed. Hilary searches the garbage and discovers his used syringes. She confronts him and he admits he was not finished with his chemotherapy. Victor explains that he wants quality in his life and Hilary says that he has been lying to her. She calls his father, who comes to take him home, but Victor wants to stay for one last Christmas party. Hilary and Victor reconnect at the party and he tells her that he is leaving with his father to go back to the hospital in the morning.

After speaking with Victor's father, who says Victor wants to spend one night alone before leaving, Hilary goes back to the house they rented only to find Victor packing clothes, ready to run away and not go with his father to the hospital. Hilary confronts him about running away and Victor admits that he is afraid of hoping. At this confession, Hilary finally tells Victor she loves him and they then decide to go back to the hospital, where he will fight for his life with Hilary. The last scene of the movie shows Victor and Hilary leaving the house, which has a small picture of Gustav Klimt's Adam and Eve (the first painting Victor shows Hilary) in the window.



The original music score was composed by James Newton Howard,[4] with the main song "Theme from Dying Young" performed by American saxophonist Kenny G, it was nominated for a Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

1."Theme from Dying Young"Kenny G4:00
2."Driving North/Moving In"James Newton Howard / Kenny G4:15
3."The Clock"James Newton Howard1:23
4."Love Montage"James Newton Howard2:56
5."The Maze"James Newton Howard2:38
6."All the Way"Jeffrey Osborne3:30
7."Hillary's Theme"James Newton Howard / Kenny G3:08
8."Victor Teaches Art"James Newton Howard1:22
9."The Bluff"James Newton Howard0:59
10."San Francisco"James Newton Howard2:03
11."Victor"James Newton Howard1:39
12."All the Way"King Curtis5:29
13."I'll Never Leave You (Love Theme)"James Newton Howard / Kenny G2:55
Total length:36:17


Prior to its original 1991 release, Premiere magazine predicted the film to be the highest-grossing movie that summer.[3]

Dying Young grossed $33.6 million domestically and $48.6 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $82.2 million.[2]

Critical responseEdit

The film earned mainly negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 23% based on 39 reviews.[5] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B+" on scale of A+ to F.[6]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2/4 and wrote: "Dying Young is a long, slow slog of a movie, up to its knees in drippy self-pity as it marches wearily toward its inevitable ending."[7]Variety magazine wrote: "Julia's hot; Dying Young is lukewarm."[8]

The film was nominated for 3 MTV Movie Awards at the 1992 MTV Movie Awards: 'Best Female Performance' and 'Most Desirable Female' for Julia Roberts, and 'Best Breakthrough Performance' for Campbell Scott.[9]


  1. ^ http://catalog.afi.com/Catalog/moviedetails/58873
  2. ^ a b "Dying Young (1991)". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ a b Kilday, Gregg; Modderno, Craig; Bales, Kate (May 24, 1991). "Julia Roberts' Disappearing Acts". Entertainment Weekly.
  4. ^ a b c Maslin, Janet (June 21, 1991). "Dying Young (1991) Review/Film; Messed-Up Lives in 'Dying Young'". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Dying Young". Rotten Tomatoes.
  6. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 21, 1991). "Dying Young Movie Review & Film Summary (1991)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  8. ^ "Dying Young". Variety (magazine). 1 January 1991.
  9. ^ "When Cobain spat on Elton's piano and Luke Perry looked like this - flashback to first MTV Movie Awards 1992". Independent.ie. Retrieved 2020-01-22.

External linksEdit