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Desert Hearts (1998)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 1

audience

76

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 3,316

My Rating

Movie Info

Director Donna Deitch makes a strong impression in her first feature film, a simple story of a lesbian love affair, based on Jane Rule's 1964 novel Desert of the Heart. Helen Shaver stars as Vivian Bell, an uptight 35-year-old Columbia University professor who travels to Reno to get a divorce. She arrives in Reno on her way to Frances Parker's (Audra Lindley) ranch, where she is staying to establish six weeks of residency in order to obtain the divorce. Once at the ranch, Vivian catches the

May 22, 2007

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (11) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (1) | DVD (4)

The story is not sensationalistic, although its love scene could not be more emotional. It`s a gentle story of someone being brought in from the cold.

January 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite many shortcomings--narrow focus, stiff dialogue, and lack of humor--it's worth seeing for historical reasons: this movie herladed a new wave of American gay and lesbian independent films.

June 20, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

A smooth and sensitive film that convincingly circles around the many different kinds of love and lets in light from several angles.

January 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Desert Hearts

The story of an unexpected, atypical lesbian romance set in 1950's Reno, Nevada.

If you're willing to overlook the low production quality and a few stiff performances, there's a very interesting film here. Helen Shaver is absolutely gorgeous and Audra Lindley (aka Mrs. Roper) impressed almost everyone with her portrayal of the loving but closed-minded stepmother.

Overall, an enjoyable, unearthshattering respite from the never-ending onslaught of 'conventional' cinema.
February 14, 2010
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

One of the most sensitive stories for what it feels like to be a woman who loves women, "Desert Hearts" made quite a difference when it was released. Produced in 1985, it has been one of the most groundbreaking films of its time for the American audience- one of the many forward steps that the movie industry had to take in depicting homosexuals as beautiful and as intelligent beings as any person out there ('Making Love" [1982] also comes to mind), and one of the very few stories that had a happy ending for a lesbian couple at the time. Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau make a wonderful couple on the screen, and the love scenes among them feel tender, real and not contrived at all, just like their romance.
November 28, 2009
anastasia57001

Super Reviewer

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