Clara's Heart (1988)




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In this sentimental coming-of-age drama, directed by Richard Mulligan (To Kill a Mockingbird) and written by Mark Medoff (Children of a Lesser God), Whoopi Goldberg plays Clara Mayfield, whom Leona Hart (Kathleen Quinlan) meets up with in Jamaica, where Leona retreats to mourn the death of her baby daughter. Leona comes from a rich Maryland family and she leaves her husband, Bill (Michael Ontkean), and her young son, David (Neil Patrick Harris), back in the States in order to achieve some personal healing. She tells Clara she is in mourning and Clara responds knowingly, "I knew the fact, but not the substance." Hearing this kind of cryptic Charlie Chan-like aphorism, Leona can't resist Clara and hires her as her maid, taking her back with her, like a pet, to Maryland. "Come meet the most wonderful person," she tells her husband, and, to be sure, Clara is out-of-this-world wonderful, and since David's self-absorbed parents are neglecting him for their own private flirtations and obsessions, Clara takes up the slack and becomes, in effect, David's family. Clara dispenses worldly advice and has him spend weekends with her in the inner-city Jamaican community, where David learns how the other half lives. But just as David is letting his guard down and permitting Clara to become his 30-year-old buddy, Clara reveals a chilling past life that includes rape, incest, and suicide.
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In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Whoopi Goldberg
as Clara Mayfield
Neil Patrick Harris
as David Hart
Kathleen Quinlan
as Leona Hart
Michael Ontkean
as Bill Hart
Spalding Gray
as Dr. Peter Epstein
Hattie Winston
as Blanche Loudon
Jason Downs
as Alan Lipsky
Maria Broom
as Felicia
Mark Medoff
as Dr. Stevens
Kevin Colborn
as Swim Team Member
Joseph Muth
as Father Joe
Dorothy Cunningham
as Buxom Woman
Alaine Laughton
as Little Girl
Randy Meeks
as Ching
Tatum Adaire Gauthier
as Ashley Lafferty
Dan Griffith
as Swim Team Member
Joy Green
as Duty Nurse
Tania Gauthier
as Jessica
Jason Schuyler
as Swim Team Member
Forry Buckingham
as Coach Stillson
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Critic Reviews for Clara's Heart

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1)

Touching film about the friendship between a Jamaican housekeeper and a young boy.

Full Review… | July 10, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

Quote not available.

October 6, 2005
Fantastica Daily

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July 18, 2005

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March 5, 2003

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February 21, 2003
Beach Reporter (Southern California)

Quote not available.

February 10, 2003
Sunday Times (Australia)

Audience Reviews for Clara's Heart


A very touching, moving story about relationships. Some relationships in this movie are healthy; some are verging on divorce. either ay, Neil Patrick Harris' first movie role is one he will be defined by, and he surely set the bar high for himself.

Matthew Henegan
Matthew Henegan

Overly sentimental, boosted by Whoopi Goldberg?s presence. It?s not very well pieced together, the editing is poor. Part of the problem as well is the parent?s aren?t very likable, yet they expect sympathy for them. Misguided direction.

James Higgins
James Higgins

Good movie! Something I don't mind watching every now and then.

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

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