After decades of refining cinema as an art and a form of entertainment, the movie industry has developed a tendency to settle into trends – directions of a narrative arc that have been proven over film history to elicit a particular reaction in most audiences, or formulas for different genres of film.

The romantic drama has a tendency to be pretty susceptible to being formulaic: woman and man meet in an awkward situation, they clash, the odd relationship they have simmers and builds over time, love and lust build, they have a romantic meeting, hesitate and then finally do make love, then hesitate some more because they feel closer to each other. Something then drives them apart (perhaps feelings for another) as a device to create conflict, one or both of them does something blissfully stupid but fulfilling to get the other back, they reconnect, and then live happily ever after.

I have never been a huge fan of the genre because of this quality of it. But upon watching Michael Mailer's Blind, I realized maybe the formula isn't a bad thing because of the feeling it elicited in me through cinematic suspension of disbelief, wanting the two characters to be happy, wanting to buy the magic of Hollywood, and feeling a bit of vicarious bliss myself after the film ended.

Blind tells the story of cantankerous but charming best-selling author turned teacher Bill Oakland (given plenty of affable qualities once you get to know him by Alec Baldwin's performance), who was blinded in a car accident which killed his wife Michelle (Rae Ritke). We learn through a series of flashbacks from when Bill could still see that he is wracked with guilt and a most pungent form of regret over how he treated his wife in the time leading up to her death.

One also senses a creeping nihilism in Bill's life when we are introduced to his “protégé” Gavin O'Connor (Steven Prescod) who comes to read Bill's students' papers to him in a New York City center for the blind that Bill uses the services of. Gavin has a great drive to learn to become a more proficient writer, and once he gets past Bill’s rough exterior, begins much of his time shadowing and learning from the man whose book he can quote from memory.

Enter the other story arc, which actually begins the movie. Dylan McDermott is high-powered Wall Street baron Mark Dutchman, he is married to socialite Suzanne Dutchman (Demi Moore). After his partner Howard (James McCaffrey) is arrested by NYPD for doing cocaine off an escort's thigh, allegations of insider trading emerge against Mark, he is arrested, and subsequently indicted.

Suzanne is not above this fray however and is also sentenced to 100 hours of community service by the court. It is through this that she meets Bill, they clash, and, after a while, the sparks fly, and maybe, just maybe, Bill will let go of his nihilism, and embrace life, and his art again.

This is also holds surprisingly powerful implications for the character of Suzanne, as Alec Baldwin's stellar performance as the wise, world-weary artist, who doesn't beat around the bush, acts as a rather surprising mirror to the character of Suzanne, exposing her empty life with her (admittedly) sociopathic husband now awaiting trial in a New York jail. Dylan McDermott brings that sociopathic character into brutal relief throughout the film – reminding me quite a bit of his performance in Seasons 1 and 2 of American Horror Story, where he played a morally bankrupt husband and a violent psychopathic respectively.

That all being said, is the story slightly formulaic? Yes. Should that deter you from what Blind has to offer? Absolutely not. The performances go a long way to really reinforcing our willingness to abandon our disbelief and embrace the simple fact that we want these characters to be happy. We are invested in them through the magic of Hollywood and the power of cinema as an art form. That simple fact is a catalyst for a degree of very real euphoria in us the viewing audience when the film ends. That is natural – and that is a phenomenon that is unique to cinema, truly what makes it such a powerful medium.