The Heart of Me (2003) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Heart of Me (2003)



Critic Consensus: This movie about passion and betrayal finds itself severely lacking in the former.

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Upper crust England before, during, and after WWII provides the backdrop for THE HEART OF ME, a richly emotional drama about the seductive -- and destructive -- nature of passion. A classic romantic triangle, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams as sisters Dinah and Madeleine, and Paul Bettany as Rickie, Madeleine's husband, who finds himself drawn to his darkly beautiful, bohemian sister-in-law. Torn between two women, one who always plays by the rules and one who always breaks them, Rickie risks everything by falling into a clandestine affair with Dinah. What follows is more than a decade of deception, betrayal, and manipulation during which Rickie's carefully constructed world falls apart and he is all but destroyed by love. Over the years, the two sisters wage a fierce battle for his heart that exposes their vast differences as well as their surprising bonds.A sumptuously mounted vision of an all-but-vanished world, in which appearances and propriety govern every relationship, THE HEART OF ME is based on the 1953 best-seller, "The Echoing Grove," by noted novelist Rosamond Lehmann (and loosely based on her illicit affair with Poet Laureate, C. Day Lewis). Intricately structured as a progression of post-war flashbacks that gradually reveal a host of personal and societal conflicts, the film brings an unusual degree of sexual candor and dark psychology to a time and place normally thought of as "polite." The powerful performances of Bettany ("A Beautiful Mind", "A Knight's Tale") and Williams ("The Sixth Sense", "Rushmore") establish them as full-fledged romantic leads and, in her strongest role since her Oscar-nominated turn in "The Wings of the Dove," Bonham Carter once again shows she is unequalled in giving a modern face to period characters struggling with the boundaries of convention. -- © ThinkFilm
R (adult situations/language, sex)
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Olivia Williams
as Madeleine
Paul Bettany
as Rickie
Eleanor Bron
as Ms. Burkett
Luke Newberry
as Anthony
Andrew Havill
as Charles
Alison Reid
as Bridie
Rebecca Charles
as Miss Matthews
John Rowe
as Drysdale
Shaughan Seymour
as Jeweller
Simon Day
as Hospital doctor
Jenny Howe
as Nurse
Rosie Ede
as Landlady
Paul Ridley
as Policeman
Tom Ward
as Jack
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Heart of Me

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (27)

O'Sullivan is not a director of great visual flamboyance, but he draws out here performances of subtle and complex shading.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

A well-acted but bloodless drama.

Full Review… | August 21, 2003
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

While far from the gold standard of The Remains of the Day, it presses all the appropriate buttons.

August 8, 2003
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A little, heartbreaking gem.

August 1, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Terribly tragic, terribly romantic and, ultimately, terribly, terribly dull.

August 1, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

The film is a soapy melodrama set from about 1936 to 1946 and done with style.

Full Review… | July 25, 2003
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Heart of Me

(***): [img][/img] I love seeing Olivia Williams whenever I can. A great cast and direction.


Great movie! Fantastic story plot. Amazing actors!

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

Their dilemmas are the stuff of dozens of Masterpiece Theater productions, but they're brought to life with a vividness that defies changing mores and cuts to the heart of the ways people justify hurting each other in the name of love.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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