Playing By Heart

"Good"

Playing By Heart Review


Every year like clockwork there's a film that tries to intertwine a dozen characters into one monster story: Short Cuts (1993), Twenty Bucks (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), 2 Days in the Valley (1996), to name but a few. 1998's entry crept in under the wire: Playing By Heart... and it's finally in wide release.

Now on its third (and worst) title in as many months, Heart follows about a dozen Los Angelenos en route to love and/or misery. Among them are Anderson and Stewart as a couple of silly/wacky would-be lovers; club kids Jolie and Phillippe; ice queen Stowe (having an affair with Edwards); and wedded veterans Rowlands and Connery.

The script relies on two things: making you think hard about how all these people fit together (it's actually quite obvious after 30 minutes, though most of the half-wits in my audience were vocalizing "Hmmmm..." and "OH!" frequently). Second, of course, is making you cry. Trying to, anyway. If you're like my wife, the touching poetry read by Burstyn to dying son Mohr will have you all aflutter. If you're like me, you'll think it's cute but overbearingly manipulative. Perhaps that's why 85 percent of our audience was female....

None of this is meant to say that Playing By Heart is a bad film. It's actually pretty funny, and while some actors (Anderson, Jolie, Stewart) are better than others (Mohr--beyond over the top), and some are just plain bizarre (Quaid), the film works well as a whole and is lively from start to finish. Hell, I can't imagine any other director getting Connery to do an impression of a slobbering lap dog (really).

While most other intricate follow-the-plot movies do it better, Heart is one that's worth a look, especially if you're into that weepy sorta thing.

Stewart and Anderson playing with fire.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th August 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $4M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: Miramax

Production compaines: Hyperion Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Fresh: 32 Rotten: 21

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Thomas L. Wilhite

Starring: as Hugh, as Valery, as Allison, as Hannah, as Paul, as Meredith, Christian Mills as Phillip, Kellie Waymire as Jane, as Gracie, as Roger, as Mildred, as Mark, Tim Halligan as Cook Show Director, as Bosco, as Trent, John Patrick White as Pete, as Amber, David Ferguson as Drag Queen, Joel McCrary as Drag Bar Bartender, as Lana, Worthie Meacham as Second Drag Queen, Michael B. Silver as Max, as The Lawyer, as Joan, as Keenan

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