• R, 1 hr. 35 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Dagur Kári
    In Theaters:
    Apr 30, 2010 Wide
    On DVD:
    Aug 10, 2010
  • Magnolia Pictures

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The Good Heart Reviews

Page 1 of 6
LWOODS04
LWOODS04

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
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."
neverteaseaweasel
neverteaseaweasel

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2010
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)
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

July 7, 2011
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.
Christopher H

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2011
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.
Ida K

Super Reviewer

September 16, 2012
I really could have done without the swinging kitten scene. Otherwise, I enjoyed seeing how the nasty old man warmed up to the homeless boy and took him under his wing. The twist at the end made me yell out loud.
Brody M

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2010
I started out REALLY liking this movie but after Jacques was in & out of the hospital after suffering so many heart attacks, The movie just started falling apart for me & the event that happened right before the ending completely & totally ruined any hope I had left
alienmindtrick
December 23, 2010
If you haven't seen 'L.I.E.', you probably didn't understand 2 of the best scenes in 'The Good Heart', the shaving scene and the driving lesson in the seaside parking lot scene. Brian Cox and Paul Dano clearly have an affinity for working together and you can almost see the thoughts racing through the ether between them. Two of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in any movie were in this one, too. 1) Spoken a pregnant pause after farting: "In a way, broccoli is the embodiment of fart. If you could capture a piece of fart, materialize it, I imagine it would look pretty much like this (holding up a broccoli floret); the incarnation of fart." - Jacques (Brian Cox) to Lucas (Paul Dano) from 'The Good Heart'.

2) Doctor to Jacques: "So, how are you feeling these days?" Jacques, "Doubt, fear, pain, anxiety, distraction, nervousness, horror, fright, panic, dread, terror, trepidation. I feel like a goddamned thesaurus." And he said it with a straight face, too. I laughed until I damn near peed my pants.

Isild de Besco as April was an enchantress. I loved her performance almost as much as I loved Paul Dano's and Brian Cox's. And that's saying a lot because I think they're among the top...oh...two actors alive today.

I'm buying the movie, and I buy damned few.
March 15, 2014
Pure Quirky Goodness! Highly underrated!
September 22, 2013
The Good Heart (Dagur Kári, 2009)

Dear...anyone who has ever attempted to make either a Lifetime or a Hallmark Original Movie: I would like you all to sit down in a theater somewhere (rent one, you can afford it) and watch Dagur Kári's 2009 movie The Good Heart. While you are doing so, don't have them dim the house lights, because you should be taking notes the entire damn time. This is how you make an inspirational, heartwarming, emotionally manipulative movie. This is everything you and your ilk have been trying to do for twenty years and, with the sole exception (in my experience) of one movie by a guy who actually started off directing direct-to-video softcore flicks, failed miserably to do every single time.

The last time Paul Dano and Brian Cox got together in front of a camera, the result was Michael Cuesta's phenomenal 2001 film L. I. E., which was phenomenal in no small part because of the chemistry between the two actors. Kári (Nói the Albino) reunited the two of them eight years later, after Ryan Gosling and Tom Waits dropped out of the project. It was a very good decision. Dano plays Lucas, a young homeless man with a penchant for failed suicide attempts. Cox is Jacques, a bar owner with a similar penchant, but for heart attacks. Synchronicity lands both of them in the hospital at the same time, and despite himself, Jacques takes a shine to the boy, taking him in and training him as a bartender. The two couldn't be more different, with Jacques' gruff cynicism playing against Lucas' wide-eyed wonder. Everything is going along swimmingly until a young, lost ex-stewardess named April (Girls Can't Swim's Isild Le Besco) shows up one rainy night. Lucas is instantly enchanted; Jacques is not a big fan of women in bars. Cue tension.

I'm not saying the movie doesn't have its problems. Yes, you can see that ending coming from a mile away, and yes, the romance subplot gets very short shrift a few times (one thinks that had Kári had the guts to go with a resolution a la Last Kind Words, it might have silenced a lot of the movie's critics). But much of the pleasure of watching this movie comes from that same Dano-Cox chemistry and how well it plays. Paul Dano always creeps me out just a little. He knows it, too, and he capitalizes on it at least once in every movie. Here it's the entire first half, which he plays almost robotically, save in a few key scenes that set up the second half of the movie (the sperm donation scene in hysterical). But then he blossoms into an actual human being, and you realize that what you've been seeing isn't a character, but an archetype. The same is true of Cox's character, and the two of them influencing one another are making them into actual human beings. It's a much better acting job than a lot of people have been giving it credit for, and it's all the better if you remember their relationship in L. I. E.. Everything else is secondary, though many of those secondary bits are a great deal of fun (the subplot with the duck, the long-standing rivalry between two of the bar's regulars, etc.) I saw homages to a number of different films here, and in many cases, I thought The Good Heart did its source material one better; the obvious parallels are with Barfly, with a bit of Coming Home thrown in, but there were bits that put me a great deal in mind of Inside Moves, All That Jazz, and maybe even a few shreds of Down by Law. It made a fun viewing experience just that much better. You probably missed this one when it was out in theaters (it grossed just under twenty thousand dollars theatrically in the USA); grab a copy of it now and remedy that. *** 1/2

(For the record, the one inspirational film that actually worked and was directed by someone who started off making DTV softcore: Yôjirô Takita's 2008 Oscar winner Okuribito.)
Doctor Z.
August 8, 2013
Loved this movie. The atmosphere was just perfect. Paul Dano and Brian Cox were excellent as were the colorful cast of characters that frequented the bar and also the hospital. It almost reminds me, in a way, of Barfly. Lots of quirky and funny moments and also some nice and emotional ones.
November 29, 2012
I like the "spark" part .....
Jerry T.
November 1, 2012
I find it interesting that the audience likes this much better than the professional critics - it says a lot about how much the critics know about what captures the viewers attention, brain or heart. I loved this movie. Yes, it is flawed, but somehow the flaws just make it even more endearing. The only thing predictable is the ending - everything else is a masterclass in acting by two incredible actors.
September 17, 2012
i saw the trailer and i thought, "there is no real need for me to watch this movie, i've already seen the entire thing." i watched it anyway because i like the actors. surprisingly, the ending was not what i exactly what i expected.
it was semi-redemptive (expected), and the last 5 minutes left me feeling duped into spending time i could have used on pretty much anything else (unexpected).
June 15, 2012
great script. Always a surprise awaits. A Good hearted picture.
February 9, 2012
Atipica y cruda pelicula sobre la amistad y la bondad humana. Dos personas, que jamas hubieran podido coincidar, deciden forjar una inusual amistad para intentar borrar los fantasmas internos de cada uno. Genial Brian Cox en su papel de viejo cascarrabias y descomunal Paul Dano como indigente bienintencionado. Hermosa y cruel a la vez. Una unica pega por parte del personaje femenino, que en lugar de despertar simpatia despierta bastante grima...
January 16, 2012
The reason to watch this predictable film is for the reunion of Brian Cox and Paul Dano, two brilliant actors appearing in their second feature together after 2001's L.I.E.
September 24, 2011
This was a good drama. I thought it was kind of dull. There was not much happening until the twist at the end. I liked the story. It did not have too big of a plot.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

July 7, 2011
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.
Robert M.
September 10, 2010
Brilliant acting carries a fairly strong story into a territory it never would have reached on its own. Dano is well on his way to the top of the male lead heap.

The changing roles of the characters is perfectly spun. A heartwarming story hidden in a dark dramedy.

Good.. Very Very Good!
natebard
October 11, 2010
The Good Heart is a character study of two very sad people at the end of their respective lives, by Icelandic Dagur Kári. Except for a dreadfully obvious ending, the film is surprisingly entertaining and likable, and it works best when the two leads interact bringing their respective worldviews into conflict. The portrayal of New York is somewhat aloof, even surreal, but the intimate portrayal of the characters provides some aesthetic substance to enjoy. Ultimately, it is a good film that could have been great with a stronger plot. (3/5)
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