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The Good Heart (2010)



Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 13

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,565

My Rating

Movie Info

Jacques is the curmudgeonly owner of a gritty New York dive bar that serves as home to a motley assortment of professional drinkers. Jacques is determinedly drinking and smoking himself to death when he meets Lucas, a homeless young man who has already given up on life. In the hopes of keeping his legacy alive, Jacques deems Lucas is a fitting heir and takes him under his wing, schooling him in the male-centric laws of his alcoholic clubhouse: no new customers, no fraternizing with customers



Dagur Kári

Aug 10, 2010

Magnolia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (36) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (24) | DVD (2)

The movie's two bright spots are Cox and Dano, who perform excellently despite the dull inevitabilities the script forces on them.

July 18, 2010 Full Review Source: NPR
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Cox doesn't so much chew the scenery as inhale it. Dano looks on in awe. Who can blame him? For that matter, who can blame Cox?

May 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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This odd couple never moves beyond oddness and the lower-depths shenanigans grate.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
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It's a strange thing, this type of whimsy. Kari offers us ideas in place of characters, and yet he expects us to see through these ideas to the real-life conditions they represent -- and then to respond to them in kind.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Cox makes his reanimation a believable, joyful change of heart, rather than a labored bit of plot manipulation. He seems ennobled, not merely sentimentalized.

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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But the film has no grasp of reality. And, worse, it has no feel for poetry, settling for pat contrasts between the two men, and taking its cardiac imagery to an absurd and literal conclusion.

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The relationship of the characters played by Cox and Dano, more innocent than the dynamic the two actors explored nine years ago in L.I.E., makes for an eccentric buddy-film gone right.

November 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Comment Magazine
Film Comment Magazine

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they're always glad you came. The bar in "The Good Heart" is emphatically not that place.

June 4, 2010 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Welcome to New York City Skid Row by way of Reykjavik, Iceland. In the Paris-born, Iceland-raised Dagur Kari's "The Good Heart," you will find a New York City unlike any other.

May 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Icelandic writer/director Dagur Kári embraces the deadpan, absurdist comedy of Finland's Aki Kaurismäki and Norway's Bent Hamer, but in place of the usual laconic antihero, he offers Cox's bellowing, Beethoven-maned troglodyte.

May 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Too sentimental for art house crowds and too dirty for multiplex folk, The Good Heart is a movie without an audience about characters that never feel like they really exist.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Retriever
Movie Retriever

You know those movies where two very different people meet, and you're so intrigued by both of them that you hope they'll form an unlikely friendship? Well, The Good Heart isn't one of them.

May 7, 2010 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Moves unstoppably toward frustration.

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

A hangover toast to an old New York with original wood paneling, cassette tapes and indoor smoking

May 6, 2010 Full Review Source: I.E. Weekly
I.E. Weekly

To a certain extent it's fun to watch Cox and Dano do their duet, but there's no depth to the lyrics.

May 5, 2010 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

Audience Reviews for The Good Heart

Cast: Brian Cox, Paul Dano, Stephanie Szostak, Damian Young, Isild Le Besco, Clark Middleton, Edmund Lyndeck, Susan Blommaert, Bill Buell, Nicolas Bro, Michael J. Burg

Director: Dagur Kári

Summary: Jacques (Brian Cox), the rough-edged owner of a New York dive bar, realizes after his fifth heart attack that he is near the end of his life. Unable to face closing the bar, he turns to homeless Lucas (Paul Dano) to keep the place going. For Lucas, it's a steep learning curve, made even trickier by the fact that Jacques is a madman with a long list of crazy rules, including no new customers and no women.

My Thoughts: "I feel like such an idiot for not seeing how the conclusion of this film would play out. I was occupied while watching it, but still it seems so very obvious now. Anyhow, the film is basically about second chances. I love Paul Dano, and I am also a fan of Brian Cox, but this wasn't their best film. Brian's character is completely foul. The things that comes out of his mouth will either offend you or make you laugh, possibly at the same time. Jacques has become a very lonely old scrooge of a man. When he meets Lucas he see's a chance to not only save his bar, but to also have a companion. It's a predictable film, if you're paying close attention. Definitely worth the rental."
January 19, 2011

Super Reviewer

One interesting thing about The Good Heart is that from the style and tone it seems like there should be depth and subtlety to the film, when in reality it is incredible obvious. The style screams "This is ART!" while the story itself differs. There is not anything wrong with this, but it is a fairly unique concept. I really like Paul Dano a lot, but he tends to be overlooked. I wasn't familiar with anyone else in the cast, but they all seemed decent enough. The only complaint I have it that the entire film is incredibly predictable. Generally this wouldn't bother me that much, within reason, but this is just too much. I think it might be because you almost get the feeling that you are supposed to me surprise. No one is surprised at the end of a romantic comedy, but neither did anyone expect to be. The Good Heart is different, it seems like the ending is supposed to be shocking, even though it is set up from the start. Overall, I thought the film was great. I loved the characters and the style, and the whole quiet, serene - almost zenlike quality of the whole thing.

Also: Why the hell hasn't anyone seen or rated this movie? (though presumably if you're reading this you've done one of the other. Or at least heard of it)
October 16, 2010
Jake ....

Super Reviewer

In "The Good Heart," Jacques(Brian Cox), the owner of a dive bar, suffers his fifth heart attack brought on by listening to a self-help tape. His roommate in the hospital is Lucas(Paul Dano), a young homeless man recovering from a suicide attempt. The two bond, despite Lucas' inability to turn off the smoke detector. So much so, that after he is discharged from the hospital, Jacques looks up Lucas and not only offers him a place to stay and a job, but also names him his heir.

"The Good Heart" gets off to a bad start before transitioning into an offbeat rhythm.(By the way, this is about the only time I have seen a German Shepherd that could be described as cute.) The movie nicely details life and drinking in a dive bar by filming in a faded color scheme that along with the weathered faces captures the inherent sense of desperation. By contrast, there is not much of a story on the surface and the ending is something of a foregone conclusion. And then there is the epilogue which raises some interesting questions about previous events while possibly confirming what we already suspected about Jacques.
July 7, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Frustrating and poignant, heartbreaking and beautiful, "The Good Heart" relies heavily on its cast to bring to life the less than amiable nature of the script. Very dry for the most part, you really have to enjoy Cox and Dano to get anything from this out-of-touch-at-times look at two lonely men.
May 4, 2011

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Ein gutes Herz (DE)
  • Un buen corazón (ES)
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