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Crimes of the Heart (1986)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 2,691

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Beth Henley (who also penned the screenplay), Crimes of the Heart stars three high-powered actresses as three high-strung sisters. Lenny (Diane Keaton), Meg (Jessica Lange) and Babe (Sissy Spacek) gather at Lenny's deep-South home for her birthday. Lenny, the oldest, can't seem to sustain a relationship with a man. Meg is an aspiring actress who hasn't progressed beyond commercial voice overs. And Babe is released on bond from jail after shooting


Drama, Comedy

Feb 3, 2004

De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG)

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All Critics (21) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (4)

It is excruciating: a combination of Beth Henley's insistently eccentric screenplay, Bruce Beresford's frenzied direction and the sight of three singular talents on an acting roller coaster with no one riding the brakes.

April 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Beresford fails to generate sufficient chemistry to bind the performances. Occasional bursts of delicious tragic humour nevertheless make this a not unlikeable 'feminist' mood piece.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It] has the dubious distinction of calling attention to just about everything the play isn't, and was never meant to be.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As Spacek, Lange and Keaton clamor for attention, "Crimes of the Heart" becomes less a movie than a three-ring circus, and ringmaster Beresford does little to direct your gaze.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are moments when the movie doesn't seem to know where it's going, but for once that's a good thing because the uncertainty almost always ends with some kind of a delightful, weird surprise.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Oscar-winning actresses make fine confederates -- their gracious collaboration propelling this happy adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dismal affair that reeks of pretentious self-importance.

April 11, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Using eccentric personalities situated in seemingly ordinary locales, Beresford's comedy is still too theatrical to qualify as cinema, but it's well acted by Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, and particularly Sissy Spacek, as three Chekhovian sisters.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

superbly well acted

April 18, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Crimes of the Heart is a bittersweet comedy that is funny, inventive and affecting.

February 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Better than you might think with a real feel for the south.

October 1, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Great work by all in a deliciously twisted comedy

September 27, 2003
Kalamazoo Gazette

Okay, the Oscar-winning actresses chew the scenery, but if you can't do that in a movie about crackpot Southerners, when can you?

August 20, 2003
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

The snappy dialogue comes thick and fast, while Spacek and Harper revel in turns that landed them both Oscar nominations.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

A wacky screwball dark southern comedy

October 24, 2002
Laramie Movie Scope

A gleaming adaptation that features three wonderful performances.

July 25, 2002

Audience Reviews for Crimes of the Heart

quirky in both a good and bad way
April 4, 2007
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Yeeeaaah I can be taken into a good women buddy buddy film but it is so easy for these things to get overly sentimental and drippy. I think that is the true crime of the heart of this picture.
July 18, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

I was really expecting alot more from this because I love the 3 stars,but it just wasn't quire there. There are some very funny parts and I enjoyed their interaction,but there needed to be more story.
August 3, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Babe Magrath: You know, Chick's hated us ever since we had to move here from Dixieville to live here with old grandmamma and old granddaddy.
    2. Meg Magrath: Well, she's an idiot.
    3. Babe Magrath: Yeah. You know what she said to me this mornin' when I was still behind bars and couldn't get away?
    4. Meg Magrath: What?
    5. Babe Magrath: She told me how embarrassin' it was for her all those years ago. You know, when mama...
    6. Meg Magrath: Yeah, down in the cellar.
    7. Babe Magrath: She said that our mama had shamed the entire family and that we were known notoriously all through Hazelhurst. Then she went on to say how I would now be gettin' just as much bad publicity and humillatin' her and the family all over again.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
    1. Chick Boyle: So, Rebecca, what are you gonna tell Mr. Lloyd about shootin' Zachery, uh, what are your reasons gonna be?
    2. Babe Magrath: That I didn't like his looks. That I didn't like his stinkin' looks! I don't like yours either, Chickie stick. So leave me alone and I mean it. Just leave me alone.
    3. Chick Boyle: Uh! Well! I was tryin' to warm her that she is gonna have to help herself. She just doesn't seem to have any idea how serious this situation is, now does she? She doesn't have the vaguest idea.
    4. Lenny Magrath: Well, it's true. She does seen... confused.
    5. Chick Boyle: That is puttin' it mildly, Lennie honey. That is puttin' it mighty mild.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (5 months ago)
    1. Babe Magrath: I don't know what's happenin' to Lennie.
    2. Meg Magrath: What do you mean?
    3. Babe Magrath: Well, she's turned into old grandmama
    4. Meg Magrath: You think so?
    5. Babe Magrath: Well, more and more. Look there. She's even taken to wearin' old grandmama's torn sun hat and her lime green garden gloves. Lennie works out in the garden wearin' the lime green gloves of a dead woman.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (7 months ago)
    1. Meg Magrath: Oh, how I do love birthday cake.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (7 months ago)
    1. Uncle Watson: Well, honey, umm, I don't know about that.
    2. Chick Boyle: Well, they will, and they'll leave you there in rot!
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (8 months ago)
    1. Meg Magrath: So how are these things with you, Babe?
    2. Chick Boyle: Well, things are dismal if you want my opinion. She's refusin' to cooperate with her lawyer, that's nice lookin' young Lioyd Boy, and she won't tell any of us why she's committed this crime.
    3. Babe Magrath: Oh look! Lennie brought my saxophone from home and my suitcase. Thank you.
    4. Lenny Magrath: You're welcome.
    5. Babe Magrath: Meg, look at my saxophone. Went to Jackson and it brought it used. It's so heavy.
    6. Chick Boyle: Now listen, Rebecca, that lawyer wants to concrete answers. No more stubborness or they're gonna put you in jail and throw away the key. Isn't that right, daddy? Won't they just put her in jail and throw away the key?
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (8 months ago)
View all quotes (8)

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