Playing By Heart
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A sexy, romantic comedy about modern couples coming together in funny and unexpected ways, PLAYING BY HEART features an amazing cast of hot stars! Paul (Sean Connery -- FINDING FORRESTER) and Hannah (Gena Rowlands -- THE MIGHTY) discover that even after 40 years of marriage, they can still learn some very surprising things about each other! Meredith (Gillian Anderson -- THE X-FILES) is a serious theatre director who isn't looking for a relationship ... but has one looking for her in the person of the funny, persistent Trent (Jon Stewart -- JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK)! Then there's Joan (Angelina Jolie -- TOMB RAIDER) and Keenan (Ryan Phillippe -- GOSFORD PARK), young people searching for love in an L.A. club scene where the rules of dating seem to change every night! A witty, charming motion picture that critics loved -- you, too, will fall for this seductive treat!
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I watched it for the first time in an Interpersonal Communications course I took in college, and it's a light, sweet, refreshing take on a romantic comedy, a genre that I'm usually not the target demographic for. The cast is phenomenal, featuring Angelina Jolie, Ryan Phillipe, a young Jon Stewart, as well as legends like Gillian Anderson, Dennis Quaid and Sean Connery. It follows a number of different storylines, and while you can certainly see a lot of "90s" in it, the movie holds up well, and is still very quotable.
I always enjoy the opportunity to share this movie because so few people I know have heard of it.
Although all the performances were strong, the stand out performances had to be that of Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillippe. The chemistry between these two young actors was earth shaking. Their screen romance was very touching and endearing. Even though Jolie has the ability to completely dominate a scene, Phillippe, playing his role with subtlety and reserve, was able to hold his own. His performance was so real and moving, that once us men folk can get over the fact that our ladies are swooning over him, we have to admit this dude can act. As for Jolie, I think no one can deny her obvious talent. With this role, like many of her others, she is able to generate so much passion, sensuality, and exuberance. Her larger-than-life persona almost "devours" the film, audience and all. Personally, I enjoyed when Phillippe's character was able to take Jolie's down a couple notches. While I liked the film as a whole, I secretly wanted more screen time for these two actors. Hopefully, soon these two rising stars will be paired again in another picture. Hollywood, you better hop to it while you still can afford them!
Overall, Playing By Heart was a wonderful film with smart dialogue, an excellent cast and a clever ending. This film restored my faith in romance. Well, at least at the movies. If you are not in some small way touched by this picture, I suggest you see your doctor right away. You might not have a pulse!
If you get confused easily, stick it out, comes together very nicely in the end.
Side note-two things:
1. How excellent that Gillian Anderson had the ability to show range. Don't get me wrong, love Dana Scully, I do, however, she is an unsung hero when it comes to this art. (See her in Masterpiece Theater's Bleak House.)
2. It is in my opinion that most comedians stick to comedy and there are but a few when they transition or give drama a try do an excellent job. Having said that hats off to Jon Stewart. His performance was more than respectable.