The Poet (Hearts of War) Reviews
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.)
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.