One From the Heart Reviews
I would also like to note that it's a crime that so much of Stararo's work isn't avaliable on blu-ray.
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.
One from the Heart initially stuck in my head because of Sneak Previews, the original Siskel and Ebert movie review show back when it was on public television. My favorite section of the show was always the Dog of the Week, at the end, when each critic would highlight the worst film he'd seen that week. I got a lot of recommendations from the Dog of the Week. That, naturally, led to a year-end list of the ten worst movies of the year. If a movie showed up on the Ten Worst list, I was almost guaranteed a good time. One from the Heart was on Gene Siskel's ten worst list for 1982; if I recall correctly, it was #1. (Pretty much anything that made their lists from that year is gold; they also included Inchon, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and Halloween III.) But I'd never gotten a chance to see it until recently. While Coppola has always been an on-and-off director for me, I've found over the years that it's pretty hard to go wrong with Frederic Forrest, and with One from the Heart, Forrest gets a rare starring role. It's not the best movie in the world-certainly not in the same league as Forrest's other major 1982 film, Hammett-but it's certainly not one of 1982's worst movies.
Plot: Hank (Forrest) and Frannie (Tootsie's Teri Garr) have been living together for coming up on ten years. The two of them have settled into boredom and routine, and Frannie has had enough; she announces, on the eve of their fifth anniversary, that she's leaving. Hank puts up token resistance, but when it comes right down to it, he's more perturbed by the disturbing of the routine. Soon after, the two of them meet their dream mates in Ray (Tempest's Raul Julia) and Leila (Cat People's Nastassja Kinski), but Hank soon realizes that dream girl or no dream girl, Frannie is the one he really loves. What lengths is he willing to go to in order to get her back?
Read as a straight film, One from the Heart does indeed make very little sense. I hesitate to speculate on Coppola's mental state (or state of inebriation) at the time he was making this movie, but asking oneself "what was everyone involved in this movie smoking?" on a regular basis will not put you too many standard deviations away from the norm. On the other hand, if you read this as Coppola's attempt-and one should always remember that Coppola began his career in the Corman factory with the similarly off the wall Dementia 13 almost twenty years before this-to make a psychedelic musical, the way L. Q. Jones had tried to make a psychedelic science fiction film seven years before with A Boy and His Dog, One from the Heart starts making a little more sense. The plot's fuzziness, the somewhat puerile sense of humor on occasion, the sometimes silly decisions made by the characters. It all falls into place. That doesn't excuse the movie's shortcomings, but at least it allows you to have some fun with them. ** 1/2
This film is as classic as they come. That some find it pure boredom only tells me that they have yet to look within to see the truth this film delivers--or they have, and looked away. The beauty of the film to me is that the couple is able to find their way back to one another, to recover what was not based on fantasy but the real bond between them, and that, in the end, it is not only "enough" but beautiful. The connectedness, stripped of its cultural overlay of crap, is real and palpable. "Take me home, you silly boy, wrap your arms around me. Take me home ,you silly boy, cause I'm still in love with you".
The settings serve up Americana as we know it today--the over stylized, consumer-driven advert addled ninny splashing in the shallow waters. Yet, in the tinsel town carnival, Coppala still finds deep water in the truth, real connection,and heart. I love this film. It just gets better with time.