The Good Heart

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,588
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Movie Info

Jacques is the curmudgeonly owner of a gritty New York dive bar that serves as home to a motley assortment of professional drinkers. Jacques is determinedly drinking and smoking himself to death when he meets Lucas, a homeless young man who has already given up on life. In the hopes of keeping his legacy alive, Jacques deems Lucas is a fitting heir and takes him under his wing, schooling him in the male-centric laws of his alcoholic clubhouse: no new customers, no fraternizing with customers and, absolutely no women. Lucas is a quick study, but their friendship is put to the test when the distraught and beautiful April shows up at the bar seeking shelter, and Lucas insists they help her out.

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Critic Reviews for The Good Heart

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (26)

  • The movie's two bright spots are Cox and Dano, who perform excellently despite the dull inevitabilities the script forces on them.

    Jul 18, 2010 | Rating: 4.6/10 | Full Review…

    Ian Buckwalter

    Top Critic
  • Cox doesn't so much chew the scenery as inhale it. Dano looks on in awe. Who can blame him? For that matter, who can blame Cox?

    May 13, 2010 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • This odd couple never moves beyond oddness and the lower-depths shenanigans grate.

    May 7, 2010 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • It's a strange thing, this type of whimsy. Kari offers us ideas in place of characters, and yet he expects us to see through these ideas to the real-life conditions they represent -- and then to respond to them in kind.

    May 7, 2010 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • But the film has no grasp of reality. And, worse, it has no feel for poetry, settling for pat contrasts between the two men, and taking its cardiac imagery to an absurd and literal conclusion.

    May 6, 2010 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A hangover toast to an old New York with original wood paneling, cassette tapes and indoor smoking

    May 6, 2010 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Good Heart

  • Jan 05, 2013
    If there's a reason I liked this film, it's because of Brian Cox and Paul Dano who, as always, deliver their absolute best. The problem lies in the fact that the script is unsure of itself and doesn't know what it wants to do. It has an identity crisis. And that's a problem because the story never builds to anything. It has different ideas it wants to get across but it never fully commits to one. It eventually does lead to Jacques changing his ways, but it's simply too late by that point to really make the story better. In a way you do care for the leads, as Brian Cox and Paul Dano are absolutely great together and I think the characters themselves are interesting and intriguing, especially Brian Cox who is excellent as the antagonistic Jacques. And Paul Dano is a good counter to that with his character's immense likability. That's all I can say really, the film is absolutely made by Brian Cox and Paul Dano and their excellent performances. It's such a shame the story is a step behind.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 16, 2012
    I really could have done without the swinging kitten scene. Otherwise, I enjoyed seeing how the nasty old man warmed up to the homeless boy and took him under his wing. The twist at the end made me yell out loud.
    Ida K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2011
    In "The Good Heart," Jacques(Brian Cox), the owner of a dive bar, suffers his fifth heart attack brought on by listening to a self-help tape. His roommate in the hospital is Lucas(Paul Dano), a young homeless man recovering from a suicide attempt. The two bond, despite Lucas' inability to turn off the smoke detector. So much so, that after he is discharged from the hospital, Jacques looks up Lucas and not only offers him a place to stay and a job, but also names him his heir. "The Good Heart" gets off to a bad start before transitioning into an offbeat rhythm.(By the way, this is about the only time I have seen a German Shepherd that could be described as cute.) The movie nicely details life and drinking in a dive bar by filming in a faded color scheme that along with the weathered faces captures the inherent sense of desperation. By contrast, there is not much of a story on the surface and the ending is something of a foregone conclusion. And then there is the epilogue which raises some interesting questions about previous events while possibly confirming what we already suspected about Jacques.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • May 04, 2011
    Frustrating and poignant, heartbreaking and beautiful, "The Good Heart" relies heavily on its cast to bring to life the less than amiable nature of the script. Very dry for the most part, you really have to enjoy Cox and Dano to get anything from this out-of-touch-at-times look at two lonely men.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer

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