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Playing By Heart [DVD] [1999]

4.6 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Connery, Anthony Edwards, Angelina Jolie
  • Directors: Willard Carroll
  • Writers: Willard Carroll
  • Producers: Bob Weinstein, David Witz, Guy East, Harvey Weinstein, Kacy Andrews
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Disney
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Feb. 2002
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005U1XV
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,469 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Written and directed by Willard Carroll, this romantic drama focuses on the lives and loves of a seemingly disparate group of Los Angelinos. Paul (Sean Connery) and Hannah (Gena Rowlands) have been married for forty years, and are coming to terms with a recent diagnosis which identified him as having a brain tumour. Meredith (Gillian Anderson) is being romantically pursued by the madcap Trent (Jon Stewart), whilst twentysomething clubbers Joan (Angelina Jolie) and Keenan (Ryan Phillippe), are trying to find love in a scene that is ravaged by drugs and AIDS.

From Amazon.co.uk

Playing by Heart is an amiably amorphous comedy-drama about a myriad of articulate and witty people pondering the meaning of love. It was originally titled Dancing About Architecture, since, as one of the lovelorn puts it in trying to explain the elusive nature of desire, "Talking about love is like dancing about architecture". However, with the way the characters in Willard Carroll's film talk, it sounds like they could dance a samba around Frank Lloyd Wright. This undiscovered gem doesn't have a particular destination in mind, as it weaves in and out of the stories of its high-profile ensemble, but it does offer some hilarious, sharp dialogue and quiet surprises.

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

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 10 Dec. 2001
Format: DVD
This is, if I'm honest, a bit of a chick flick! However, please give this film a chance. It is a sweet and ultimatly rewarding romantic comedy. It revolves around the lives of three sisters and their parents, finding love and in the process of this finding out about themselves. This may sound corny and like the descriptions of many rom-coms before it but the superb acting and ingenuitive use of storytelling that the diector employs makes this film a cut above the rest. I, personally, loved this film. It showcased the acting talents of Gillian Anderson and Angelina Jolie (post X-Files and fame respectively) and managed to not only make me laugh but also cry.
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.
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By A Customer on 3 Jun. 2003
Format: DVD
Not for the impatient, Playing by Heart is a particularly good example of the complex romantic comedy. The excellent acting complements the apparently disparate -most definitely quirky- plot lines and incisive dialogue. A four star script, slightly weak on characterisation, works due to the presence and competence of the A-list cast.
It's not though; the film for casual watching and to really get anything from the film a fair amount of concentration is essential. Definitely not the movie for everyone you will have few laugh-out-loud moments but should leave the cinema touched and amused.
A solid 5 star movie overall some truly entertaining twists make this well worth your time.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Willard Carroll (director of the utterfly woeful 1990 horror 'The Runestone') creates one of the Top 3 cinematic splashes of 1998 with this utterly absorbing, winningly clever and beautifuly wrought multi-stranded drama with liberal pilings of wit along the way. Bringing 'Short Cuts' to mind structurally, it hinges around a small number of characters getting to grips with flailing marriages, past indescretions, hesitant puppy-love, the hell of single-dom and more. And to say anything more would be to criminally take out the amazing surprises that the script pulls as the story unfolds. As with 'Short Cuts', you may tell the wretched Paul Thomas Anderson has been watching this film closely to help complete his turgid 'Magnolia' (along with several other 90s dramas)once you've seen it-once again there's a supporting actress pulled from this pretty much doing the same thing but to a far less worthy screen-timer in his absurd and derivative production.

Quite how Mr Carroll gets from the noneity of 'The Runestone' starring no one of any worth to probably the best cast ever assembled for a 90s movie really takes your breath away. The dialogue is fun and frantic where it needs to be, but always measured, perceptive and cohesive, the direction unfussy, and the film looks beautiful. Sean Connery's best movie in ages and his teaming with Gena Rowlands is pitched so prefectly, you can't think of them as anything other than married and for a good many years. Gillian Anderson is wonderful too, but it's the excellent and smoking hot Ryan Phillipe who deserves the awards and attention for his star-making turn as a shyest, sweetest hunk ever to go dancing on his own in the LA club scene.
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Format: DVD
The film revolves around four relationships, all given roughly the same amount of screen time, and all dealing with the problems of relationships in contrasting ways.
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I absolutely adore this movie. It explores the relationships of several couples from young to the older. For me, Gillian Anderson and Angelina Jolie's performances really stand out as being nothing but wonderful.

This movie is intelligent, funny, heart warming but it will also break your heart.
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Format: DVD
That's a great movie. It deals mainly with the unpleasant situations that can arise in a couple's relationship. It makes you feel good knowing that it's not the end of the world if something goes wrong sometime... We are humans afterall!
Lots of great actors and great perfomances. I liked it and I recommend it!
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By A Customer on 21 Jan. 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Playing by Heart may not be the deepest of films, but it's a pleasant movie-going experience when you're not in the mood for something hard-hitting or deep.
it is a dramatic comedy about the many faces of love, consisting of six seemingly unrelated tales about men and women, finding each other, losing each other and discovering things and secrets about themselves and others.
The movie has a well-acted gallery of characters, which makes it hard to dislike any of them.
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.
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