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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.59%
Worth A Look42.62%
Average: 16.39%
Pretty Bad: 13.11%
Total Crap: 3.28%

6 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Playing By Heart
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by Chef ADogg

"It's stupid, but you'll love it."
4 stars

"Playing By Heart" is one of those really overwritten, sappy romantic comedies in which cynical people search desperately for love connections and fuck up plenty of times before finally finding that perfect someone. In other words, the kind of movie that I treasure.

Written and directed by Willard Carrol, "Playing By Heart" intertwines a bunch of loosely connected stories concerning love, parental bonds, and the human condition. If that sounds somewhat pretentious, well...Then you just need to look at things differently.

I, for one, would rather consider this movie "ambitious."

"Playing By Heart" works because it lives up to its tangled structure--in the opening scenes, I was annoyed by how disjointed it was, but once I got into the rhythm it became extremely enjoyable. You think the scenes are just being pasted together randomly, but there's actually a lot of skillfull architecture at play--otherwise, it wouldn't be so damn effective.

The performances are a big help. Angelina Jolie sparkles, as usual; Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands have superb chemistry (honestly, every time they were on screen together I laughed my ass off); Jay Mohr turns in more great work as a young man dying of AIDs; and Jon Stewart finally gets a role that utilizes his talent.

Weak links? Dennis Quaid is bland; Ryan Phillipe does the whole pretty boy pout thing, which failed to turn me on once again (I really think they should keep that guy out of serious movies-- stick him in "She's All That" so he'll stop fucking shit up for the rest of us who like actors who EMOTE); and Gillian Anderson really isn't charming enough to make us believe that Stewart would pursue her so heartily.

The good overcomes the bad, though, and I think if you've got any romance in your soul at all you'll find yourself highly entertained. I probably wouldn't like this movie if I wasn't in a well functioning relationship; it'll have the opposite effect that is intended if the viewer has yet to find happiness in a relationship.

I'd compare it to "She's the One," but better because of the way it's put together. There's something deeply satisfying for me when a movie showcases various strands all coming together in the climax--it's like putting together a puzzle. If you like that kind of thing, you'll really dig "Playing By Heart."

My one real complaint is that the dialogue sounds false throughout. While it stopped mattering for me once I got into the sundry plot lines, it might distract a lot of people. I feel the need to dock it one star for its lack of reality.

But other than that, a sweet, big hearted film with lots of good acting and some enjoyable bite size stories.

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originally posted: 09/21/99 08:42:56
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User Comments

12/21/09 Emily I'ts a brilliant film, I't always makes me laugh. 5 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
10/03/05 Bron One of my top 5 fave movies! 5 stars
9/13/05 drew touching 5 stars
7/23/04 Annie Awesome script, fine acting, not a word too much, just unbelievable! 5 stars
5/24/04 Butterbean Didn't care for Meridith/Trent story. It's nice how everything ties in at the end. 3 stars
7/09/03 natasha_theobald great cast does well even though the script is trying a little too hard 3 stars
3/09/03 Jack Sommersby Altman-esque without the magic. Well-acted and -photgraphed, though. 2 stars
3/28/02 Valentina Beautiful,i cry everytime i see it.WONDERFUL 5 stars
1/07/02 Jim Zzzzzzzzzz .... They still talking? Zzzzzzz .... 2 stars
7/26/01 Clara best chick flick ever 5 stars
5/12/00 Elvisfan It was allright but a slow start & annoying actors (Stowe) make it less than great 4 stars
9/28/99 beetlejazz i admit that that reason that i loved this film is b/c i am a sappy romantic.... 5 stars
8/20/99 Randall loved it 5 stars
6/15/99 David Pluses: 2.35 cinematography, Angelina Jolie Minuses: Too much plot, not enough soul 3 stars
3/22/99 Ah Dooey Is it wrong for me, just because Gillian Anderson from The X-Files is in it? 5 stars
3/11/99 Meg Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillippe shine! 5 stars
2/18/99 Derek Eeeh. Not as clever as it thinks it is. Eliminate 1 or 2 storylines, and it's better. 3 stars
2/12/99 mandy Someone needs to cast Gillian Anderson in a romantic comedy. 5 stars
2/01/99 Tom Ripley Obviously inspired by Short Cuts, but a great flick anyways. Angelina Jolie's a revelation. 5 stars
1/30/99 donkey_dew Paduy. This stuff sucks. BORING!!! 1 stars
1/30/99 val It makes you laugh at times and it makes you cry. Great date movie!!! 5 stars
1/25/99 Meepos. Liked it a lot. 5 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool Very much like the typical Altman movie, this is a must see for 1998! 5 stars
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  22-Jan-1999 (R)


  26-Aug-1999 (M)

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