Rob Morrow of "Northern Exposure" fame portrays Lyle Maze, a very sweet artist/sculptor with Tourette's syndrome. Even though early scenes demonstrate the challenges presented by involuntary shoulder shrugs, arm twitches, popping sounds, and vocalizations associated with Tourette's, the story quickly evolves into a fairly predictable tale of love. Mike (Craig Sheffer) is engaged to Callie (Laura Linney), but spends months of time incommunicado--practicing medicine in Burundi and other remote locations.

For different reasons, both Lyle and Callie are cast into lives defined by isolation and loneliness. Shortly after Mike has left for his most recent assignment, Callie learns that she is pregnant. Alone and confused by Mike's long absences, she turns increasingly to Lyle for friendship and support. Not surprisingly, they fall in love.


Throughout history, persons expressing Tourette's disruptive features frequently were tormented, committed to asylums, or burned at the stake. Our understanding of this neurological disorder has improved, but problems continue for both the sufferer and those with whom the person is associated. Films such as Maze as well as The Madness of King George, Niagara, Niagara, and Twitch and Shout and novels like Motherless Brooklyn (by Jonathan Lethem) serve to instruct the uninformed and curious about the spectrum of this disorder's outward manifestations and psycho-social components.

An early scene in the film becomes a microcosm for the kinds of frustrations that can occur. Lyle greets a life model in his studio who has agreed to pose for him. Before she strips down, she tells him that she is familiar with his work and aware of his disorder. As the drawing and painting begin, he is unable to control the hand holding his paint: globs are splashed across her body, face, and hair repeatedly. Having no other recourse, the apologetic and increasingly nervous artist and the paint-smeared model agree to discontinue the disastrous session.

In order to give the audience some sense of Lyle's movements and perspective, the camera action here and in other scenes is jerky, effectively mimicking Lyle's abrupt thrusts and movements. Viewers can ?xperience?the disruptive and jarring impulses of the disorder.


Screenplay by Rob Morrow and Bradley White

Primary Source

Trimark Homevideo