The movie is based on the 1976 autobiography "Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal" by Carolyn Cassady. Cassady, who died in 2013 at age 90. Reportedly, she was unhappy with this film version of her book, though she did like Sissy Spacek who played her. See more »
Near-brilliant production design and art direction; the rest is middling...
Fictionalized account of the friendship between writers Nick Cassady and Jack Kerouac, members of the so-called Beat Generation of the late 1950s. Writer-director John Byrum takes a sketchy, connect-the-dots approach to these famous people, and his opaque screenplay, adapted from Carolyn Cassady's memoirs, leaves the actors (Nick Nolte as Cassady, John Heard as Kerouac, Sissy Spacek as Carolyn) often looking as if they haven't been clued-in. There are moments when the cast and the well-realized surroundings warrant far more interest than the story or the dialogue, and that's a weak obstacle in a film about writers. The film is also extremely somber, with only bits and pieces of quirky humor (thanks to a supporting turn by Ray Sharkey) to elevate the depressive air of self-conceit. Visually impressive production, solid work from the men, but Spacek's role is underwritten. ** from ****
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