The Heart of Me
Dir: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Star: Helena Bonham Carter, Olivia Williams, Paul Bettany
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2002
Format: DVD R2

Living in 1930's London Madeleine (Olivia Williams) and Dinah (Helena Bonham Carter) are sisters, and while Madeleine is married to the handsome Rickie (Paul Bettany), Dinah is a free sprit. During Madeleine's attempt at match making Rickie realises that he has fallen for Dinah and the two embark on a passionate affair. This is an affair will have repercussions that will totally change all of their lives.

Ok so this isn't a cult movie, in fact it is a romantic drama. So why am I reviewing it? For the simple reason that I am from the Isle of Man (West of England, East of Ireland for those interested, or off the edge of the map for our American friends) and this is Isle of Man film commission movie partly shot here. In addition to this I find its good to expand one’s horizons every now and again. Ok so with that sorted on with the review.

This is a BBC costume drama with a more heavyweight cast than a television budget usually allows for. It is not a happy film featuring as it does four deaths and a rape (hardly four weddings then). Yes there is a small amount of sex but this is really a rather moving tragic drama. The scenes are mostly set inside and it focuses on just the central three characters, giving a rather claustrophobic feel.

Of the three central characters Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams put in excellent performances. Helena Bonham Carter plays yet another kooky period spinster a role in which she seems to excel, and is well matched to Olivia Williams as her beautiful sister with a perfect life. It is an outstanding turn by Williams as we watch her character get destroyed by betrayal losing both her confidence and looks. The major problem comes from Paul Bettany’s strangely uninvolving portrayal of Rickie. The character never really gets developed, as his performance is flat and uninteresting. This is a real disappointment after such a strong performance in A Knights Tale.

The Heart of Me doesn't bear comparison with other costume dramas to well. It lacks the scale and stunning scenery of many of it contempory’s giving it a made for television feel. The story although well acted for the most part and the fact that it is moving it is hardly anything new. Plus the telling of the story is not helped by confusing flash backs and flash-forwards between a number of time periods, giving the whole piece a disjointed feel. These factors combine to give the film an overwhelming feeling of averageness.

The Heart of Me is pretty good film, it's just nothing special. There is no doubt that those wanting a good slice of drama will not be disappointed, and the fine performances of the two female leads are really worth watching. However there are many better films of this type out there with the Helena Bonham Carter starred Wings of a Dove to name just one. So give it a go by all means but it isn't worth going out of your way to watch.

By the way The Heart of Me is a lousy title for this film, Forgive Me would have been both more apt and have a better impact.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Picture 16:9 Anamorphic A fine sharp picture, more then adequate for what is required.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Again fine but this is dialogue intensive so nothing much is asked of it.
Features Audio Commentary
Lack lustre deleted scenes
Verdict A fine transfer and a few good extras, make for a more than acceptable disc.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reviewed by Glitz Back Top Home