So much has already been written about The English Patient (15, nationwide from Fri) that you may wonder if you still want to see it. Here are 12 reasons why you should - one for each Oscar nomination:

Because Hollywood tried to Hollywoodise it, and failed, and has now accepted it on its own terms.

Because the industry still doesn't have enough faith to show it on the giant West End screens, to which it is ideally suited.

Because it's beautiful, but not pretty. And long, but not slow. And the central characters, despite being upper-class, are not twits.

To look into Ralph Fiennes's eyes, which are both ice-blue and ablaze.

To see Colin Firth in a role that is heroically unromantic.

Because Fiennes (above) says "Swoon!" and Kristin Scott Thomas does so, and so does the audience.

Because you thought Scott Thomas was hard-done- by in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Because the hero's hero is Herodotus, father of history, though not of historical accuracy.

Because Juliette Binoche is luminous. (Literally: the cinematographer, John Seale, adjusted the lights for her close-ups to allow for the reflectiveness of her skin.)

To find out what the suprasternal notch is.

Because it's a great British success story, which is also beyond nationality. It's the story of a Hungarian, two Britons, two Canadians and an Indian (none of whom are in their own country), adapted by an Italian-English director and an American producer from the novel by a Sri-Lankan-Canadian.

Because if you don't see it, you won't be able to see it again. Tim de Lisle