The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things

Critics Consensus

The film aims to shock, but there is no higher reason for the parade of sordid images except to be "cool."



Total Count: 51


Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,369
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The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things Photos

Movie Info

Seven-year-old Jeremiah lived a calm, comfortable life in the care of a loving foster home until the day his young mother Sarah came to take him back. Jeremiah is thrust against his will into his mother's reckless life of turmoil and depravity, bouncing between desolate truck-stops, flea bag motels, strip joints and drug dens. Deadbeat surrogate dads swoop in and out of Jeremiah's life until he finds himself in the custody of his ultra-religious grandparents. Soon after Jeremiah adapts to his new life as a Christian fundamentalist, Sarah returns to claim him. Back on the road and bound by a love only a mother and son could have for each other, Sarah pulls Jeremiah further and further into her dementia. When Sarah is finally and wholly consumed by drugs, prostitution and violence, Jeremiah is forced into a desperate struggle to survive the madness of his surroundings.

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Jimmy Bennett
as Young Jeremiah
Peter Fonda
as Grandfather
Ben Foster
as Fleshy Boy
Ornella Muti
as Grandmother
Kip Pardue
as Luther
Winona Ryder
as Psychologist
Jeremy Sisto
as Chester
Cole Sprouse
as Older Jeremiah
Dylan Sprouse
as Older Jeremiah
Lydia Lunch
as Social Worker
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Critic Reviews for The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (19)

  • Reeks of a project desperate for edgy credibility.

    Apr 13, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Argento's film is arguably exploitative, but its real-life horrors are effectively authentic.

    Apr 7, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Now the fabricated story of a boyhood that included abandonment, rape and near constant fear and humiliation is a movie. The result is unwatchable.

    Mar 24, 2006 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Vile beyond redemption.

    Mar 24, 2006 | Rating: 0.5/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • There is no redemption, no surcease, and as the film ends the barbarity continues. This film made me intensely uncomfortable, but that was its intention.

    Mar 18, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a taxing bit of exploitation, which, although you're glad to know it's a work of fiction, doesn't exactly make a case for itself as art.

    Mar 18, 2006 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things

  • Nov 02, 2011
    As much as I like Asia Argento, I found all the abuse realistic, yet, not for any point. It also has an amazing cast featuring Jeremy Renner, Peter Fonda, Ben Foster, Michael Pitt, and way more, but even they can't make this film worth watching.
    ZACHO D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 27, 2010
    Asia Argento presents a bleak, disturbing and horrific film. Argento refuses to undermine the story by offering no final solution. The films main purpose is to make the audience feel very uncomfortable. Problems like child abuse are easy to put aside as coverage of real life events must always be handled with tact. Argento goes for a more direct approach. Argento and the boys all give sterling performances, and are aided by a never-ending stream of boyfriends from Manson-Renner. The Sprouse boys have certainly come along way and their performances are intune with each other. Wonderful, but not light, stuff.
    Luke B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2008
    This movie was excellent - extremely disturbing and certainly wouldn't be to everyone's taste. Jimmy Bennett is excellent as a little boy in foster care who's drugged up, hopeless, too awful for words mother comes back to claim him. What follows is so horrific that it came as quite a relief to do a bit more research and discover the "true story" was in fact a hoax, but all the same, sure there are plenty of people out there this type of crap does happen to, and this was so well done. It has a few cameo appearances in it by various people such as Michael Pitt, Winona Ryder and Marilyn Manson - none of them are in it for more than a few minutes, so not worth renting just to see any of those if you are a fan. I was impressed with Winona's appearance though, it was darkly funny and actually nearly didn't recognise her.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 12, 2007
    Really strange and awuflly true story of a poor innocent little boy's life turned hell while he spent with his drug-addicted hooker mother. I felt so sorry for a little boy. And actress-director-screenwriter Asia Argento who plays as a mother looks like a wild Courteney Love in this film.
    Dean M Super Reviewer

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