The Heart of Me (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Heart of Me (2003)



Critic Consensus: This movie about passion and betrayal finds itself severely lacking in the former.

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Movie Info

Upper crust England before, during, and after WWII provides the backdrop for THE HEART OF ME, a richly emotional drama about the seductive -- and destructive -- nature of passion. A classic romantic triangle, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams as sisters Dinah and Madeleine, and Paul Bettany as Rickie, Madeleine's husband, who finds himself drawn to his darkly beautiful, bohemian sister-in-law. Torn between two women, one who always plays by the rules and one who always breaks them, Rickie risks everything by falling into a clandestine affair with Dinah. What follows is more than a decade of deception, betrayal, and manipulation during which Rickie's carefully constructed world falls apart and he is all but destroyed by love. Over the years, the two sisters wage a fierce battle for his heart that exposes their vast differences as well as their surprising bonds.A sumptuously mounted vision of an all-but-vanished world, in which appearances and propriety govern every relationship, THE HEART OF ME is based on the 1953 best-seller, "The Echoing Grove," by noted novelist Rosamond Lehmann (and loosely based on her illicit affair with Poet Laureate, C. Day Lewis). Intricately structured as a progression of post-war flashbacks that gradually reveal a host of personal and societal conflicts, the film brings an unusual degree of sexual candor and dark psychology to a time and place normally thought of as "polite." The powerful performances of Bettany ("A Beautiful Mind", "A Knight's Tale") and Williams ("The Sixth Sense", "Rushmore") establish them as full-fledged romantic leads and, in her strongest role since her Oscar-nominated turn in "The Wings of the Dove," Bonham Carter once again shows she is unequalled in giving a modern face to period characters struggling with the boundaries of convention. -- © ThinkFilmmore
Rating: R (adult situations/language, sex)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Lucinda Coxon
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 10, 2004


Olivia Williams
as Madeleine
Eleanor Bron
as Ms. Burkett
Rebecca Charles
as Miss Matthews
John Rowe
as Drysdale
Simon Day
as Hospital doctor
Rosie Ede
as Landlady
Paul Ridley
as Policeman
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Heart of Me

Critic Reviews for The Heart of Me

All Critics (63) | Top Critics (27)

O'Sullivan is not a director of great visual flamboyance, but he draws out here performances of subtle and complex shading.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A well-acted but bloodless drama.

Full Review… | August 21, 2003
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

While far from the gold standard of The Remains of the Day, it presses all the appropriate buttons.

August 8, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A little, heartbreaking gem.

August 1, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Terribly tragic, terribly romantic and, ultimately, terribly, terribly dull.

August 1, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

The film is a soapy melodrama set from about 1936 to 1946 and done with style.

Full Review… | July 25, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Heart of Me


[font=Century Gothic][color=darkred]"The Heart of Me" starts in 1934 in a well-to-do household in London. Madeleine(Olivia Williams) is constantly worrying about the marriage prospects for her bohemian sister, Dinah(Helena Bonham Carter). Getting Dinah married has been a lot of trouble for Madeleine. Little does she suspect that the reason for this, is that Dinah is having an affair with Madeleine's husband, Rickie(Paul Bettany). The moral of the movie is that having an affair with your sister-in-law can be a lot of fun, until somebody gets pregnant. "The Heart of Me" is not that interesting with a good cast wasted playing types more than anythingelse. A flash forward to 1946 is awkward in giving away some of the story while cheating in other ways.[/color][/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Great movie! Fantastic story plot. Amazing actors!

Leo L

Super Reviewer

Let me begin by saying, I KNOW this movie isn't for everyone. I KNOW many people would be bored to tears and say 'What the FARK? I want that 90 minutes back'. OK, with that said, I can go on to say, thankfully, I'm not everyone. ;-) I don't know when or why I added this to my online rental queue but I'm glad I did. I suspect I added it because Paul Bettany is in it. What can I say? He never disappoints. I watched this movie tonight and rode a seesaw of emotions for the individual characters...teetering back and forth from liking them to somewhat despising them. And, again, not everyone would care, but, I thought the costume design was excellent...particularly Olivia Williams. I also liked the pacing of the story and the fact that I was surprised by the characters just when I thought I knew what they were all about. So there. ;-)

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