The Poet (Hearts of War) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Poet (Hearts of War) Reviews

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February 15, 2016
The Poet - Hearts of War (2007) directed by Damian Lee and written by Jack Crystal is a Holocaust movie which centers around the forbidden love story of a rabbis daughter fleeing persecution and an idealistic German poet turned officer forced to fight in a war he fundamentally does not believe in.
Holocaust movies generally are deeply emotional pieces with a straightforward take on an aspect of the holocaust, even the bad movies accomplish that. For example, take The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008), a highly controversial film about the tragic friendship between a Nazi boy whose father runs a death camp, and a Jewish boy who works in the camp. The film has a highly unconventional plot which culminates to a even more unconventional ending. It leaves viewers with a sense of compassion for a high ranking Nazi official, something that made many people, including myself, outraged. Even though the movie focused on the wrong side of the Holocaust, it made the viewers care about the characters presented in the story and developed a plot. The poet did nothing of the sort.
For a movie incorporating such a promising idea coupled with well defined characters, it was inexcusably bad. It took a forbidden holocaust love story and somehow made it boring; the writers used some sort of black magic to turn scenes like, the death of a newborn baby or the selfless sacrifice of a lover, into almost feelingless mundane events. It also takes an absurdly large amount of time looking at Oscars discontent with WWII, and wars in general, rather than focusing on developing its own plot. If there was a, ?The Holocaust as a Decoration? movie category, The Poet - Hearts of War would fit perfectly into it, unfortunately since that category does not exist, I would have to consider this a tangential Holocaust film. The people scripting this seemed to have a bad case of plot ADHD, the storyline incorporates far too many pieces at once and in the process losses any sense of what it is.
I think Gary Goldstein at the Los Angeles Times hit it right on the head when he said ?There's a viable story lurking within the World War II melodrama The Poet, but much of it likely landed on the cutting room floor.? The movie has an unfortunate amount of wasted potential. IMDB far too kind with its 5.3/10 rating. The movie was nominated for no awards, has no listing on Metacritics, and not even enough reviews to get a percentage from Rotten Tomatoes. I think it is fair to say the 11 Million Canadian Dollars spent on this movie would have been better used as kindling for a fire to keep Rachel warm at the beginning of the movie, then she would have never needed rescuing and this whole story could have been avoided.
In the ending scene of the movie, Oscar states to his captive, ?One day this war will end ? everyone will go back to normal ? at least the dead will not know how futile it was.? Replace the word war with movie and that perfectly sums up my feelings for The Poet - Hearts of War, at least the dead did not have to suffer through it. I would give this movie a well deserved 1.7/10.

(I Wrote this Review for a Film Class, Only Reason I Bothered Writing It.)
May 21, 2014
If you're going to make a film about Europeans, don't cast Americans in the roles - the types that go to films because of movie stars are not your target audience anyway. This somewhat jarring inauthenticity ruins what is otherwise a well-made tearjerker.
May 21, 2014
This is a good movie that paces well, is beautifully shot, has interesting characters and should appeal to everybody...
October 22, 2012
I will not be watching this one.
April 21, 2012
It was OK. That's about all I really have to say. It was not inspired, it was just average.
April 21, 2012
It was OK. That's about all I really have to say. It was not inspired, it was just average.
January 28, 2012
This sounds quite sad but interesting too. I want to see it as it sounds like a really good film.
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2011
Recommended by my friendPinkMinkPrincess!
June 10, 2011
Poor acting and script. The story had potential but failed to deliver a plausible situation and atmosphere of WWII era Poland and Russia.
December 25, 2010
For lidt nazi, og for meget kærlighed. Ganske enkelt. Vil hellere se krig end følelser og børn og alt sådan noget useriøst snask. KRIG KA VI LI! Men kunne instruktøren her åbenbart ikk :( Var visse gode momenter men meget meget få
August 9, 2009
This sounds quite sad but interesting too. I want to see it as it sounds like a really good film.
June 29, 2009
"Hearts of War" was originally titled "The Poet" [the European release], and is a Holocaust/WW II drama. The movie begins in 1939 as the Germans invade and occupy Poland. Rachel [Nina Dobrev] is a rabbi's daughter who gets lost in a snowstorm and is rescued by an undercover German officer, Oscar Koenig [Jonathan Scarfe]. The next morning, Rachel awakes to see the smitten Oscar and they both make love. This is the beginning of a series of plot implausibilities. Even if one were to take into account that both Rachel and Oscar genuinely fell in love, I think the story would have had more credibility if they had at least spent a bit more time getting to know each other. I mean, Rachel is an orthodox rabbi's daughter and betrothed to someone else! I do not think it was common for a girl of such upbringing to fling convention to the winds and have sex with a virtual, albeit handsome stranger.

That aside, the movie just does not flow well - there are a few different story arcs that run through the movie, but are not fused seamlessly. Rachel ends up getting separated from Oscar, finds herself pregnant, and later agrees to marry selfless Bernard, a Jewish young man who is hopelessly in love with Rachel. The pair have to navigate a treacherous and uncertain path and fight against the odds to stay alive. Oscar meanwhile, pines away for his love whilst under pressure from his peers and his domineering father to act like a 'good German soldier'. His heart just isn't in fighting, preferring to write 'deep' poems instead. There are some notable names in this movie that are totally wasted - Daryl Hannah plays Oscar's sympathetic mother, who hardly bats an eyelid when Oscar proclaims he loves a Jewish girl. Roy Scheider appears briefly as a rabbi who marries Rachel and Bernard.

The movie ultimately suffers from a lack of credibility - not just in the storyline such as the unconvincing romance but also in the action sequences which come off as lame and poorly executed. There's also a story arc later on in the movie where Rachel masquerades as Christina, a singer who sleeps with German officers to survive. I'm sorry, perhaps such stories did occur during the war, but at this point, I was beyond caring what happened to anyone in the movie.

I've watched many Holocaust dramas and there are some really stellar productions out there. "Hearts of War" isn't one of them.
May 21, 2009
Very good movie, touching story even it is soo sad.
May 17, 2009
Well-acted and pretty film has a weak script. It makes a good Lifetime movie.
May 12, 2009
Hearts of War [***]
May 10, 2009
Johnathan Scarfe and Nina Dobrev. Mm-hm.
April 24, 2009
The film is fine, but it lacks spark. It's well enough produced but I just wasn't enthralled by it. Good acting and story. Watchable bit not very memorable. Also known as "The Poet".
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