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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.59%
Worth A Look42.62%
Just Average: 16.39%
Pretty Crappy: 13.11%
Sucks: 3.28%

6 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Playing By Heart
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by Ophelia13

4 stars

Sometimes the title of a movie can taint your whole perception. When I entered the realm of ďPlaying By HeartĒ, my mouth had a bad taste and I felt physically ill. I expected the movie to live up to my standards, and make me feel nauseous for the whole thing. I shouldnít judge a book by its cover.

Despite its cast, I wanted to hate Playing By Heart. I really wanted to sit there and revel in my own superiority, secure in the knowledge that I despise such melodramatic treacle. But sometimes, Iím just wrong.

The plot is pure cheese, of the stereotypical style that drives stereotypical chicks wild and stereotypical guys screaming from the theatre searching for some sort of object to stab themselves with. The formula is simply complicated. Itís all about contradiction. Everyone loves someone, but they hate them, too. Nothing seems like it will ever work out for the best, but it always does.

Itís an ensemble movie where we arenít supposed to notice the coincidences until we are slapped in the face with them at the end. We arenít told outright whatís up, and we arenít intelligent to figure it out, so they throw in a blatant reference at the end to pull it all together. Subtlety is lost in the fray of it all, if we were introduced to it at all.

Thatís the bad part. And itís a bad part that is pretty much spread over the genre. This isnít to say that a movie canít rise above the genre itís been cursed with. Playing By Heart does just that.

When you have something like this, only two things can save it. The script, and the cast. The script is way too smart for its own good. Itís witty. Very much so, in fact. It takes center stage in every scene, but only because the actors seem bored with the plot.

It seems clear that the cast of Playing By Heart know that they are acting in a movie where the script is the best part. So they just play along, and chew it up. We have a movie thatís filled, alternately, with self-satisfied hams and self-deprecating hams.

Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie are prime examples of the self-satisfied style. They know their characters inside and out. Totally confident in their ability to steal a scene, they kind of sit back and relax. True, Connery has about half the skill of Jolie, but heís a classic, and he knows it.

Then thereís Jon Stewart and Gillian Anderson. Whether or not they think they can act, they stumble through their scenes with an air of unsure ness. Thatís a good thing, because their charactersí neuroses would be annoying in the hands of someone who couldnít do that.

Not everyone in this movie is a phenomenal talent. Until now, Ryan Phillipe showed himself to have the acting ability of driftwood. But someone found a glimmer of range in him, and it shows here.

Iím not going to rush out and rent chick flicks because of the revelations of this movie, but I will watch Playing By Heart again.

It was supposed to be called Dancing About Architecture. They changed it because they thought that wouldnít draw the audiences in. It still didnít draw them. Thatís unfortunate, because it deserves at least one viewing from anyone who enjoys a good script and actors that can pull it off.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=967&reviewer=130
originally posted: 05/08/00 17:41:13
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User Comments

12/21/09 Emily I'ts a brilliant film, I't always makes me laugh. 5 stars
1/16/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
10/03/05 Bron One of my top 5 fave movies! 5 stars
9/13/05 drew touching 5 stars
7/23/04 Annie Awesome script, fine acting, not a word too much, just unbelievable! 5 stars
5/23/04 Butterbean Didn't care for Meridith/Trent story. It's nice how everything ties in at the end. 3 stars
7/08/03 natasha_theobald great cast does well even though the script is trying a little too hard 3 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Altman-esque without the magic. Well-acted and -photgraphed, though. 2 stars
3/28/02 Valentina Beautiful,i cry everytime i see it.WONDERFUL 5 stars
1/06/02 Jim Zzzzzzzzzz .... They still talking? Zzzzzzz .... 2 stars
7/26/01 Clara best chick flick ever 5 stars
5/11/00 Elvisfan It was allright but a slow start & annoying actors (Stowe) make it less than great 4 stars
9/27/99 beetlejazz i admit that that reason that i loved this film is b/c i am a sappy romantic.... 5 stars
8/20/99 Randall loved it 5 stars
6/14/99 David Pluses: 2.35 cinematography, Angelina Jolie Minuses: Too much plot, not enough soul 3 stars
3/21/99 Ah Dooey Is it wrong for me, just because Gillian Anderson from The X-Files is in it? 5 stars
3/10/99 Meg Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillippe shine! 5 stars
2/17/99 Derek Eeeh. Not as clever as it thinks it is. Eliminate 1 or 2 storylines, and it's better. 3 stars
2/11/99 mandy Someone needs to cast Gillian Anderson in a romantic comedy. 5 stars
1/31/99 Tom Ripley Obviously inspired by Short Cuts, but a great flick anyways. Angelina Jolie's a revelation. 5 stars
1/30/99 donkey_dew Paduy. This stuff sucks. BORING!!! 1 stars
1/30/99 val It makes you laugh at times and it makes you cry. Great date movie!!! 5 stars
1/24/99 Meepos. Liked it a lot. 5 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool Very much like the typical Altman movie, this is a must see for 1998! 5 stars
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  22-Jan-1999 (R)


  26-Aug-1999 (M)

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