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Lawless Heart R

3.7 out of 5 stars (16) IMDb 6.8/10

Shocked by the death of a friend, three men decide to take their lives in hand. But under the influence of three beguiling women, how far will they go?

Starring:
Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander
Runtime:
1 hour, 40 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Tom Hunsinger, Neil Hunter
Starring Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander
Supporting actors Douglas Henshall, Clémentine Célarié, Ellie Haddington, Sukie Smith, Josephine Butler, Stuart Laing, Sally Hurst, Dominic Hall, Jim McManus, Howard Gossington, Richard Cant, Hari Dhillon, Peter Symonds, June Barrie, Alasdair Craig, Zoe Shipway, Jessica Lauren Napier, Barney Clark
Studio First Look
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a lovely, touching film about human relationships set in a small English town, where the death of a man sets in motion a number of unpredictable changes in the lives of the man's intimates as well as complete strangers. The plot and characters are actually poorly described in the promotional copy reproduced above in the Editorial Reviews. And certainly the cover photo misrepresents the film entirely. It's not about sexy-looking women taking off their clothes.

The film is really three inter-related stories, each told with a different central character - a brother-in-law of the dead man, a best friend who's returned home after many years, and the dead man's gay lover. Unlike "Rashomon," the stories don't contradict each other. Each, being from another point of view, emphasizes and reveals different things, and they overlap only every now and then. Besides the point that everyone is a walk-on in someone else's life, the film reminds us that what we know about other people is only what's visible, which is limited, but being at the center of their lives doesn't necessarily provide them with privileged insight. All three men, in one way or another, "don't have a clue," as one of them admits.

I loved this film. You sense that it could easily unfold in a multitude of directions, if we could only follow all the characters. Some clever use of props, like a coconut and a silk scarf, weave through a couple of the stories, gradually taking on a significance of their own. But for the characters there is far more ambiguity, which is reflected in the final scene, as they watch a home movie, and we watch their faces, quietly reflecting emotions unknown to each other and that we can only guess.
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Format: VHS Tape
Stuart has died in a boating accident, leaving his sister Judy (Ellie Haddington) to sort out his money and his lover Nick (Tom Hollander) to manage the restaurant that they owned. Judy's husband Dan (Bill Nighy) wonders if he would be happier if he had an affair, and he wonders what being happier might mean. Nick isn't sure if he should stick around or move to London where he has friends, and he seeks consolation in a dysfunctional but lively woman named Charlie (Sukie Smith). Tim (Douglas Henshall), who was a childhood friend of Stuart's, has returned to town in time for the funeral. Tim has always been an errant hippie of sorts, but now he has found a woman with whom he'd like to settle down, only to find that she loves his adoptive brother David (Stuart Laing).
"Lawless Heart" is a film about relationships and the decisions that they entail, told three times from three different perspectives. My description of the film may make it sound like a soap opera, and perhaps it is in the most basic sense. But "Lawless Heart" is, for the most part, understated and lacks the melodrama of pulp fiction. Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter both wrote and directed the film. Their decision to tell the story from three different points of view and through three different experiences sets "Lawless Heart" apart from many other movies that explore interpersonal relationships in that the differences in perspective and what people don't know about one another become central to the film. As soon as we realize that we are seeing the same set of circumstances from a different point of view, the audience focuses on the divergence of the perspectives and looks for new information that might fill in the gaps left by the other perspectives.
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Format: DVD
***1/2 "Lawless Heart" feels a bit like a confused mess at the start - until you realize that it is telling the same story from the perspective of three different characters. When the elements begin to fall into place, the film becomes a touching human drama about exactly what the title implies - the inability to make the heart do what one wants it to do.
Written and directed by Tom Hunsinger and Neil Hunter, the film begins at the funeral of a gay man named Stuart who drowned a few days earlier in a boating accident. The story focuses on three of the people closest to him: Nick, Stuart's lover; Dan, Stuart's brother-in-law; and Tim, an old friend of Stuart's who's been off trying to make a success of himself and not doing a very good job of it. Rather than relate the tale in a straightforward, linear fashion, the filmmakers have chosen to employ a multi-level narrative structure, showing us events first from the perspective of one character, then backing up time and showing us them again from the perspective of another. Although the technique is often more distracting and gimmicky than illuminating, the film ultimately becomes a moving study of loss, jealousy, confusion and passion, with each of the film's many characters (not just the three listed) making a memorable mark on our hearts. The movie is helped immeasurably by its highly gifted cast, its complex interplay of character and time, and its understanding that the one thing we can't control is who we care for and who we love. The maturity of the film is evidenced in the fact that each of the characters comes to learn that he must temper his passions if he hopes to get through life with his sense of morality and decency - and his self-respect - intact.
Well written and acted, "Lawless Heart" is a quiet, unassuming film that has some important things to say about The Big Three: life, death and love.
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