The Good Heart
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as home to a motley assortment of professional drinkers. Jacques is determinedly drinking and
smoking himself to death when he meets Lucas (Paul Dano), a homeless young man who has
already given up on life. Determined to keep his legacy alive, Jacques deems Lucas is a fitting heir
and takes him under his wing, schooling him in the male-centric laws of his alcoholic clubhouse: no
new customers, no fraternizing with customers, and absolutely no women. Lucas is a quick study,
but their friendship is put to the test when the distraught and beautiful April (Isild Le Besco) shows
up at the bar seeking shelter, and Lucas insists they help her out.
Top Customer Reviews
Dear...anyone who has ever attempted to make either a Lifetime or a Hallmark Original Movie: I would like you all to sit down in a theater somewhere (rent one, you can afford it) and watch Dagur Kári's 2009 movie The Good Heart. While you are doing so, don't have them dim the house lights, because you should be taking notes the entire damn time. This is how you make an inspirational, heartwarming, emotionally manipulative movie. This is everything you and your ilk have been trying to do for twenty years and, with the sole exception (in my experience) of one movie by a guy who actually started off directing direct-to-video softcore flicks, failed miserably to do every single time.
The last time Paul Dano and Brian Cox got together in front of a camera, the result was Michael Cuesta's phenomenal 2001 film L. I. E., which was phenomenal in no small part because of the chemistry between the two actors. Kári (Nói the Albino) reunited the two of them eight years later, after Ryan Gosling and Tom Waits dropped out of the project. It was a very good decision. Dano plays Lucas, a young homeless man with a penchant for failed suicide attempts. Cox is Jacques, a bar owner with a similar penchant, but for heart attacks. Synchronicity lands both of them in the hospital at the same time, and despite himself, Jacques takes a shine to the boy, taking him in and training him as a bartender. The two couldn't be more different, with Jacques' gruff cynicism playing against Lucas' wide-eyed wonder. Everything is going along swimmingly until a young, lost ex-stewardess named April (Girls Can't Swim's Isild Le Besco) shows up one rainy night. Lucas is instantly enchanted; Jacques is not a big fan of women in bars. Cue tension.Read more ›
In addition, my discovery that the cherubic newbie from L.I.E. is now a fairly established "character" actor (Dano had important, but certainly not vanity-oriented parts in 12 Years A Slave & Prisoner, getting beat up in both films), along with my own recent explorations in amateur acting (taking a series of supposed method classes where the instructor seemed to emphasize competing with one's fellow performers to draw audience attention), made me realize how absurd and arbitrary it is that we focus our regard on only actors who fit as examples of "alphas" within our human hierarchy. I had read an interview with Dano where he implies as much, expressing the sentiment that in order to be as truly authentic to the role as possible, one cannot be using the part to wage this campaign for love/admiration/validation. So creatively and personally for me, this has been a revelation as a viewer and an artist. It's made me remember why my mother always dragged me to arthouse fair to watch foreign and indie films. It's made me realize the importance of consuming more than what is fed mainstream. So that was my mindset coming into this little film.
The director writer/director Dagur Kari also is a fan of L.I.E.Read more ›
It takes place mostly in a seedy NY bar. Jacques, played by the wonderful Brian Cox, is a misanthrope and a philosopher. To say he is eccentric is to understate the case considerably. He is not one of your cliched lovable old curmudgeons; his antisocial behavior borders on sociopathy. Paul Dano is a young homeless man who is too innocent for the casual cruelties of the streets. Fate brings them together.
Cox, who looks like a bulldog on a bad hair day, brings an incredible depth to the role of Jacques. An intellectual who lives in squalor, he ekes out a living in his bar...which serves only those few people he deigns to admit. Strangers are turned away. The land the bar is sitting on, a prime piece of downtown NYC real estate, is worth countless millions, but when real estate developers try to buy the place, Jacques turns them down...out of spite and a sort of noble commitment to the past. The magic of Cox's stony and unforgiving performance is his ability to add nuance without selling out. Jacques is never lovable, but he is fascinating and we get brief, tantalizing glimpses into his soul...just a whisper here, and peek there. An unforgettable piece of acting craft.
The film is bleak, but it's also fun. The scenes where Jacque debates Buddhism with the Chinese restaurant owner, explains the hidden meaning of broccoli to his protege, or gives him a lesson in brewing espresso are pure gold. Cox is, quite simply,a genius. Even so, it's Dano, who almost walks away with the film. His face is so open, so guileless, his eyes so wide, he just breaks your heart.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Worked out perfectly for my Dad-in-law. He listens to it a lot and loves it.Published 3 months ago by Fel Angel
what a good movie! very moving and gracious, will never watch it enough times, feels like the first time, love it!Published 11 months ago by cct
A WONDERFUL FILM TOUCHES THE HEART A MUST WATCH FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HUMAN INTEREST FILMS ABOUT PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPSPublished on March 19, 2014 by REV. PAUL A. CANNARIATO
Although this movie is classified as a drama, it is LOL hillarious. A great movie to lift your spirits. I highly recommend it.Published on January 17, 2014 by Michelle H. McQuain