One From the Heart is really only recognized as a box office torpedo anymore, which is sort of a shame. It has a bevy of flaws, and its status as an obvious vanity project will turn off most viewers (especially those coming into the movie off of the high of Coppola's previous movie, Apocalypse Now). I found most of it unconventional and sweet, and the soundtrack is just fantastic - it has turned me into a Tom Waits fan. The plainness of the two leads is sort of difficult to get behind, but they have to be ordinary in contrast with the extraordinary people they meet up with later, and thus to convince us that they belong together. The bombing of this film confuses me in a sense, as Frannie and Hank make for successful audience avatars. You could blame it on the lack of market value of Frederic Forrest and Teri Garr, both of whom give strong performances here. They aren't completely depthless or without personality, but their struggles and lives are immediately relatable; they feel more like friends or acquaintances than surrogates or metaphors.
One From the Heart falters in its excess, such as a scary propensity toward slapstick comedy that is every bit as bad as it sounds. Forrest + Bugs Bunny = the stuff of my nightmares. The film also has a tendency to let its characters shriek unbearably about whatever's troubling them, which grows obnoxious after a while. The first half an hour of the movie is sort of an endurance test, when their relationship is at its rockiest. If you can't stomach these people in this passage of the film, you should really just stop watching. Furthermore, the visual approach is distracting and, though unique, doesn't seem to serve much of a purpose in the film's goals at large. Bathing the shot in overcontrasted red or blue or yellow looks cool the first couple of times, but then you start to wonder what it's all for.
Despite all that excess, One From the Heart sort of registers as a trifle, which is the last think Coppola wanted it to be I think. With its comparatively high budget, histrionic composition and the overall challenge that appreciating the film seems to bring, something about it doesn't really feel consistent. Perhaps musical romantic comedy is just a genre in which I'm not versed, but I didn't find it to be an exceptional movie, even though I appreciated and sympathized with it. This will assuredly be remembered as the point of Francis Ford Coppola's burnout, an unfair role for it to assume in history. I do recommend it, but only as a strange pit stop into some of the murkier depths of his filmography.