Desert Hearts 1986

Desert Hearts

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

95%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 22

76%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,481

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Movie Info

A New York professor (Helen Shaver) divorces her husband and has an affair with another woman (Patricia Charbonneau) in 1959 Reno.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Desert Hearts

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1)

  • The nearly-all-female cast is excellent, the sense of place is strong.

    May 13, 2020 | Full Review…
  • ... this is an astonishingly polished and nuanced first film. It deserves to be celebrated, not quibbled with.

    January 4, 2018 | Full Review…
  • The story is not sensationalistic, although its love scene could not be more emotional. It`s a gentle story of someone being brought in from the cold.

    January 16, 2013 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • I might have enjoyed Desert Hearts more if it had been more subtle and observant about the two women... And yet Desert Hearts has undeniable power.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It was the tenderness of Desert Hearts that got me, the hope, and the idea that a woman didn't need to have it all nailed down by the time she hit 30, that a woman could give in to what she wanted and just figure it out as she went along

    October 30, 2020 | Full Review…
  • I never wanted Desert Hearts to end.

    October 9, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Desert Hearts

  • Nov 28, 2009
    One of the most sensitive stories for what it feels like to be a woman who loves women, "Desert Hearts" made quite a difference when it was released. Produced in 1985, it has been one of the most groundbreaking films of its time for the American audience- one of the many forward steps that the movie industry had to take in depicting homosexuals as beautiful and as intelligent beings as any person out there ('Making Love" [1982] also comes to mind), and one of the very few stories that had a happy ending for a lesbian couple at the time. Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau make a wonderful couple on the screen, and the love scenes among them feel tender, real and not contrived at all, just like their romance.
    Anastasia B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 13, 2009
    The story of an unexpected, atypical lesbian romance set in 1950's Reno, Nevada. If you're willing to overlook the low production quality and a few stiff performances, there's a very interesting film here. Helen Shaver is absolutely gorgeous and Audra Lindley (aka Mrs. Roper) impressed almost everyone with her portrayal of the loving but closed-minded stepmother. Overall, an enjoyable, unearthshattering respite from the never-ending onslaught of 'conventional' cinema.
    Randy T Super Reviewer

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