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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Playing By Heart (1998)

A disparate group of characters must deal with love in its various forms: an ill man (Sean Connery) and his wife (Gena Rowlands) approaching their 40th anniversary must deal with a 25 year old infidelity, a wild child (Angelina Jolie) has a hard time trying to coerce a quiet young man (Ryan Phillippe) into a relationship, a man (Dennis Quaid) goes from bar to bar inventing stories that aren't true, a mother (Ellen Burstyn) nurses her dying son (Jay Mohr), a woman (Gillian Anderson) is hesitant about committing a relationship with a new man (Jon Stewart), a married woman (Madeleine Stowe) is having an affair with a minister (Anthony Edwards). As the film moves toward the ending, the stories become interrelated. I suppose Altmanesque is as good a way of describing the film's structure but its much more conventional than Altman's often zig zagging overlapping rides. It's also much more sentimental than Altman ever could be. That's not meant as a put down. Actually, I liked this move a great deal. It doesn't miss a trick and covers all its bases. Best of all, marvelous performances by a first rate cast. Written and directed by Willard Carroll with a lovely jazz score by John Barry. Also in the cast: Nastassja Kinski, Patricia Clarkson, Amanda Peet, Alec Mapa and April Grace.

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