The Good Heart (2010)
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Critic Reviews for The Good Heart
The movie's two bright spots are Cox and Dano, who perform excellently despite the dull inevitabilities the script forces on them.
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?
This odd couple never moves beyond oddness and the lower-depths shenanigans grate.
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.
Cox makes his reanimation a believable, joyful change of heart, rather than a labored bit of plot manipulation. He seems ennobled, not merely sentimentalized.
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."
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)
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.
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