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Playing by Heart

Playing by Heart (1998)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 53
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 21

It's overly talky, but Playing By Heart benefits from witty insights into modern relationships and strong performances from an esteemed cast.

43

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 8

It's overly talky, but Playing By Heart benefits from witty insights into modern relationships and strong performances from an esteemed cast.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 19,902

My Rating

Movie Info

Sophomore writer/director Willard Carroll weaves together an all-star cast in interlocking stories about finding love in Los Angeles. The film's theme is spoken by young club-hopper Joan (Angelina Jolie). Taken by the mysterious Keenan (Ryan Phillippe), she tells him that "talking about love" is like "dancing about architecture" (the original title until the studio thought it would be confused with Dancing at Lughnasa), meaning speech is not the medium to adequately express the details of love.

R,

Drama, Romance, Comedy

Willard Carroll

Oct 2, 2001

Miramax

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Playing by Heart

November 11, 2005:
Sean Connery Earns AFI's Highest Honor
Thanks to ComingSoon.net for sharing a press release from the American Film Institute: Sir Sean...

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All Critics (55) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (21) | DVD (2)

Carroll's characters spend so much time talking, albeit intelligently, that the connections they make seem peculiarly synthetic.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This charming romantic comedy with a Los Angeles setting cuts between seemingly unconnected miniplots the way some Robert Altman movies do.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All of these characters are more interesting when things are going badly for them than when the tide has turned, and Carroll's determination to make the final reel an extended bout of audience tummy tickling is disappointingly conventional.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If Playing by Heart is the kind of film that used to be known as a "woman's picture," it certainly provides more emotional nourishment than most other mainstream movies generate these days.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all its artificiality, Playing by Heart percolates with an earnest charm.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[It's] n tune with the current trend toward movies that coddle the audience with reassuring sentiments.

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

Carroll's milieu is resolutely middle class and the crises encountered all too predictable.

June 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

A very slight and inoffensive movie. It's a lot like L.A. itself, all surface, soothing and warm.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The brightest spot belongs to Angelina Jolie, who is so compelling to watch she has chemistry with the furniture.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Playing By Heart tries hard and sometimes succeeds -- and Jolie is terrific.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

Nothing more than merely watchable film.

October 13, 2004 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

The dozen or so lead characters of Playing By Heart fear silence the way Biblical people feared locusts.

March 19, 2003 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

An underrated, dreamy drama about love, lust and infidelity amongst inter-connected Los Angeleans. Jolie rises to the challenge.

March 9, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

The lack of time gives the last reel a fakey, tied-up-with-a-bow feeling, but good performances and a good script make this an enjoyable little romance.

February 8, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

An intriguing patchwork of relationships converges into a portrait of modern love in Playing By Heart, a wry, satisfying emotional saga.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

A heavily mixed bag; high points come with Jon Stewart's sweet courtship of Gillian Anderson and a brilliant turn from a young unknown named Angelina Jolie.

August 1, 2002
Flipside Movie Emporium

The script's overall artifice, combined with a convenient burst of "I love yous" and an all-too-obvious surprise ending, work to undermine an otherwise interesting concept.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Willard Carroll's cleverly interconnected (sometimes annoyingly so) tale of six different relationships is populated by a horde of big-name stars...

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A well-scripted ensemble drama about eleven people in Los Angeles searching for love.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Despite its first rate cast and some very well-crafted segments, Playing by Heart too often comes off like an ungainly, land-locked Love Boat episode with a glandular disorder.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: NUVO Newsweekly
NUVO Newsweekly

As a puzzle, Playing By Heart is fairly simple. Luckily, observing the artwork of the individual pieces is more than enough reward.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Cinematter
Cinematter

Unfortunately as bland as its forgettable title,

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Playing by Heart

A delightful little film with an A-list roster of stars and a convoluted tale of relationships, beginning and ending and at a crossroads. I found myself caring about these characters, every one of them damaged goods in some way, but all of them looking for someone to love and to be loved by. A little bit schmaltzy at times, but its heart is in the right place and I dug it.
August 30, 2013
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

Play by Heart is a fairly entertaining and unconventional romantic comedy. The film follows several people throughout L.A., and the various kinds and stages of relationships that they're in. The cast is surprisingly good and includes Angelina Jolie, Ryan Phillippe, Gillian Anderson, Madeleine Stowe, and Sean Connery. The story is well written for the most part and has some interesting things to say about people and relationships. However, it takes on a few too many characters and forces itself a bit. While it has some issues, Play by Heart is a unique and entertaining film that has a good message.
August 20, 2012
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

Movies Like Playing by Heart

    1. Joan: Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.
    – Submitted by Ricardo Erick R (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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