Map of the Human Heart (1992)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
A white, Inuit boy named Avik is the focus of New Zealand director Vincent Ward's meditation on race and romance. In the opening moments of the movie, set in 1931 in the Arctic-Canadian settlement Nunataaq, Avik (portrayed initially by Robert Joamie) lives under the watchful eye of his grandmother (Jayko Pitseolak). While tagging along after British cartographer Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin), Avik falls prey to the "white man's disease,"--tuberculosis; to assuage his own guilt, Russell takes the boy to a Montreal clinic to recover. There, Avik meets Albertine, a mixed-blood Indian girl, and the two fall in love, but their relationship is quickly broken up by the Mother Superior who is in charge of the clinic. Years later, Avik again meets Russell, who this time is on a mission to recover the German U-boat lying wrecked off the coast of Nunataaq. Avik asks for Russell's help in learning the whereabouts of Albertine, and he gives the cartographer a chest X-ray of the girl which he has carried with him since their separation. More time elapses, and Avik (now played by Jason Scott Lee) has become a British bombardier fighting in World War II. He is sought out by Albertine (Anne Parillaud), who has become Russell's mistress. Still, she begins an affair with Avik; Russell soon finds out, and as revenge sends Avik and his crew on a suicide mission of which Avik is the lone survivor. Despondent over his war experiences, Avik flees to Canada, where he becomes an alcoholic; decades later, he is sought out by Rainee (Clotilde Courau), the daughter born from his affair with Albertine. On his way to the girl's wedding, Avik is killed in an accident; his body washes up on the beach at Nunataaq, a wedding gift still clutched in his arms. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi … More
Related News & Features
Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival 2005
– Rotten Tomatoes
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for Map of the Human Heart
Even by Mr. Ward's own high standards in the area of idiosyncrasy, this is a daringly peculiar tale.
A film of incantatory intensity and moment by a prodigiously gifted young filmmaker.
Despite its historical surrounding and a few stabs at thematic depth, Map of the Human Heart has all the flavor and plot complexity of a Harlequin romance.
The best movies seem to reinvent themselves as they move along, not drawing from worn-out sources, and Map of the Human Heart is one of the year's best films.
As directed and co-written by Vincent Ward, this romantic drama tries to say something poignant about a doomed interracial love and the fateful nature of human encounters, but everything about it is excessive.
Succeeds admirably in showing us just how much love the heart can hold in the face of so many obstacles and so much pain.
An interesting, overlooked film
Dreamy, romantic, and ultimately haunting. A rare movie that deserves to be called a true original.
The love story (which features Jason Scott Lee and Anne Parillaud) that means to add pathos to this cultural collision doesn't generate enough heat. But the theme tantalizes, and many of the images soar.
Map of the Human Heart is an enjoyable two-hour ride, an unusual and eccentric combination of old-fashioned and modern movie sensibilities, told from a decidedly '90s mindset.
Audience Reviews for Map of the Human Heart
Nice. Moving. Touching...even though the style of this movie definitely shows its age. Much has happened in the last 20 yrs to improve productions. To see this movie made again, with todays expertise, would be really fantastic. FYI: John Cusack is in this for less than 5 min...More
Average film narrative about an Inuit Eskimo's life and his relationship with a half-breed Indian girl that looks like its epic story.More
The movie starts off very well with interesting relationships between Inuit, European and other Meso-American peoples and then switches gears into a sweeping romance. Jason Scott Lee really steps up to and fills his role as an Inuit who is drawn into a world he is unfamiliar with. By the time the film gets to WWII it might as well be Pearl Harbor w/ burning models instead of god CGI. As a note Cusack has a 5 Minute role sitting at a table looking at a map listening to Lee retell his storyMore
Map of the Human Heart Quotes
- It's all there in the maps. Sometimes all they tell you is that you're lost.
- Why do you want to bomb Dresden?
- Walter Russell:
- There's a monster in a room. Once that room was filled with everything that was valuable to him. His train sets, his puppet theatre, his model planes. They're all broken now. All that's left untouched is his beautiful collection of Dresden China. You go into that room, you smash all his crockery, and you have broken his spirit.
Discuss Map of the Human Heart on our Movie forum!