Carroll focuses his film on four couples, all in one way or another battling with the problems of relationships, ranging from long-marrieds (Gena Rowlands and Sean Connery) to Gen-X club-hoppers (Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillippe). Ostensibly, part of the film is invested in the mystery of how all these characters are interrelated, but keen viewers will be able to discern the connections among them all. It's the uniformly excellent performances, though, that make Playing by Heart compulsively watchable. Most striking, surprisingly enough, are Jolie and Phillippe, the youngest members of the cast who reveal heretofore hidden depths of talent. Jolie in particular increases her already-soaring stock as an actress. Equally impressive are Gillian Anderson and Jon Stewart, who transcend their yuppie personas in their awkward enactment of the timeless dating rituals. Other cast members, including Dennis Quaid, Anthony Edwards, Ellen Burstyn, Jay Mohr and the always-luminous Madeleine Stowe, are quite good, though saddled with story lines that are occasionally less than compelling. The only complaint you'll have is that once everyone's connections are revealed, you'll wish this cast had more of an opportunity to interact. The journey toward the film's bittersweet end, however, is marvellous in and of itself. --Mark Englehart, Amazon.com
Give this film a go, I think that you will be pleasantly suprised! The DVD includes all the usual extras and wil;l become an essential part of your collection.
The older generation are represented by Paul (Sean Connery) and Hannah (Gena Rowlands) squabbling about a love affair Paul had twenty five years ago as they approach their fortieth wedding anniversary. It is a pleasure to see Connery acting a part and not playing himself as so often happens.
Two of the couples Joan (Jolie) and Keenan (Phillip), Meredith (Anderson) and Trent (Stewart) are trying to recover from the trauma of failed relationships, Gracie (Stowe) and Roger (Edwards) are cheating on each other, and mother love comes in the form of Mildred (Burstyn) whose gay son Mark (Mohr) is dying of AIDs. There are also other occasional characters that slightly confuse the plot with other problems.
This is a well acted, well directed film, moving and warmly involving, and arriving at a feel good but not sentimental ending that makes for a very satisfying evenings viewing.
Paul(Sean Connery) and Hanna (Gena Rowlands)is a long-married couple who are avoiding dealing with the recent discovery that Paul has an inoperable brain-tumour. Instead of facing the situation, they carry on a squabble over a romance Paul had 25 years earlier.
Mildred (Ellen Burstyn) is an attractive widow with a gay son, Mark (Jay Mohr). Mark has AIDS and is in the hospital, dying.
Gracie (Madeleine Stowe) is married, but having an affair with the priest, Roger (Anthony Edwards), for her the relationship is only physical, but for him it means something more.
Trent (Jon Stewart) is in love with Meredith (Gillian Anderson) but she rejects him at first, because she has a relationship-phobia, and believes he is "too good to be true".
Joan (Angelina Jolie) is a brashly aggressive aspiring actress with alcohol problems, who puts the moves on Keenan (Ryan Philippe) a solitary young man she meets in a disco, he rebuffs her advances but they develop a special friendship, and later he confesses that he has got AIDS.
Hugh (Dennis Quaid)is a haunted barfly who goes from club to club regaling sympathetic strangers with a different sob story in every watering whole.... Read more ›
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