One of my personal favorites is Second Sight: A Love Story (1984). Montgomery plays Alax McKay, a fiercely independent woman who lost her sight at age 16 as a result of congenital cataracts. She briskly brushes aside any attempts to assist her, though she confides to her brother: "There isn't a moment in my life when I feel completely safe."
Two separate events turn Alax's life upside down. First, she meets a man that cuts through her self-defenses and pursues her romantically. As if coping with the challenge of a new relationship wasn't hard enough, she discovers a burglar in her apartment. Her confidence shaken, she makes a life-altering decision to get a seeing-eye dog.
Second Sight is a compelling movie, especially when it focuses on Alax's daily experiences with Emma, her yellow Labrador Retriever. She spends four weeks living at the International Guiding Eyes school, learning that humans need just as much as training as their assistance dogs--maybe more. Her trust in Emma grows, especially after the Labrador proves her mettle by keeping Alax from colliding with a bicycle rider.
Second Sight eventually evolves into a more conventional drama when the story shifts to Alax's romantic relationship. It's done well enough and the normally intense Barry Newman seems almost subdued as Alax's encouraging boyfriend. However, I kept wishing the film would get back to the story of Alax and Emma.
|The real Emma.|
Second Sight: A Love Story was a personal project for Elizabeth Montgomery, who wanted to show Alax's flaws. She gives a heartfelt performance and--like Alax--the film succeeds despite its flaws in the second half. During the shoot, Elizabeth Montgomery and Emma became so attached that the actress adopted the dog in real life.