Map of the Human Heart (1992)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Vincent Ward directed this beautifully photographed romantic tale about a bold love affair stretching across both years and cultural barriers. The film begins in the Arctic in 1965 as a young mapmaker (John Cusack) arrives in an Eskimo village and meets a drunken old half-caste Eskimo named Avik, who regales the mapmaker with his life story. Avik recalls the arrival in 1921 of another cartographer in their village, the swaggering British mapmaker Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin). Walter discovers Avik (played as a young man by Robert Joanie) is suffering from tuberculosis and rushes him to a sanitarium in Montreal. Avik, who has never been outside his village, is awestruck at the outside world. He is also awestruck by a half-Indian girl named Albertine (Annie Galipeau), and they become friends. But one of the Catholic sisters (Jeanne Moreau) who runs the sanitarium pulls Albertine away from Avik. Ten years later, Walter returns to the Eskimo village. Avik (now grown up as Jason Scott Lee) tells him the village is starving and that they blame him, since he was tainted by the white man in his visit to Montreal. Walter offers to take Avik with him, but Avik must stay to tend his dying grandmother. But he does ask Walter to look up Albertine and tell her he loves her. Walter abides by his request and finds Albertine (now played by Anne Parillaud). By now, Avikhas been abandoned by his village and has joined the air force. He encounters Albertine and the two renew their old love. But there is a complication: Albertine is now having an affair with Walter.
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama , Romance
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Anne Parillaud
as Albertine
Robert Joamie
as Young Avik
Annie Galipeau
as Young Albertine
Patrick Bergin
as Russell
John Cusack
as Clark
Jeanne Moreau
as Sister Banville
Ben Mendelsohn
as Farmboy
Jerry Snell
as Boleslaw
Matt Holland
as Navigator
Jayko Pitseolak
as Avik's Grandmother
Kliment Denchev
as Doctor on Boat
Frank Verellen
as Chopper Pilot
Jeff Mahoney
as Chopper NCO
Rebecca Vevee
as Inuit Woman--Cook
Mark Ruel
as Photo Analyst
Josape Kopalee
as Inuit Elder
Monique Spaziani
as Kind Nurse
Minor Mustain
as Army Sergeant
Jod Leveille Bernard
as Newspaper Boy
Edouard Kurtness
as Indian Patient
Harry Hill
as Doctor
Anick Matern
as Thelma
Marc Ruel
as Michael
Tyley Ross
as Messenger
Griffith Brewer
as Homeguard
Robert Higden
as Photographer
Robin Dorken
as Oilman in Bar
Bill Rowat
as Barman
Haden Devine
as American Soldier
Gordon Masten
as Colonel Jameson
Michelle Turmel
as Ginger Jameson
Sean Hayes
as Hotel Bellboy
Rick Manburg
as Walter's NCO
Dennis St John
as Moravian Minister
Kliment Dentchev
as Doctor on Boat
Tamar Koslov
as Margarete
Bronwen Mantel
as Woman Guest
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Critic Reviews for Map of the Human Heart

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

Even by Mr. Ward's own high standards in the area of idiosyncrasy, this is a daringly peculiar tale.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

The best movies seem to reinvent themselves as they move along, not drawing from worn-out sources, and Map of the Human Heart is one of the year's best films.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A film of incantatory intensity and moment by a prodigiously gifted young filmmaker.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Washington Post
Top Critic

Despite its historical surrounding and a few stabs at thematic depth, Map of the Human Heart has all the flavor and plot complexity of a Harlequin romance.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

As directed and co-written by Vincent Ward, this romantic drama tries to say something poignant about a doomed interracial love and the fateful nature of human encounters, but everything about it is excessive.

Full Review… | December 26, 2006

Visually stunning and emotionally powerful... a buried treasure.

Full Review… | January 4, 2004

Audience Reviews for Map of the Human Heart

half-breed inuit boy meets halfling injun girl in Canada's Royal Mount. A romance across bleeding noses, black eyes and icy plains over decades. It's a pity that they don't manage to surmount their comfort zones and dreams, despite their undeniable balloony love.

Aaron Chuah
Aaron Chuah

Nice. Moving. Touching...even though the style of this movie definitely shows its age. Much has happened in the last 20 yrs to improve productions. To see this movie made again, with todays expertise, would be really fantastic. FYI: John Cusack is in this for less than 5 min...

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer


The movie starts off very well with interesting relationships between Inuit, European and other Meso-American peoples and then switches gears into a sweeping romance. Jason Scott Lee really steps up to and fills his role as an Inuit who is drawn into a world he is unfamiliar with. By the time the film gets to WWII it might as well be Pearl Harbor w/ burning models instead of god CGI. As a note Cusack has a 5 Minute role sitting at a table looking at a map listening to Lee retell his story

Bill Cavros
Bill Cavros

Super Reviewer

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