Patty Hearst (1988) Poster


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Vive la Revolution!
buiger31 March 2012
I totally agree with Hal Hinson's review here. His below phrase says it all, perfectly characterizing this movie: "What one hopes for in "Patty Hearst" is a movie that would straighten out the tangles of her life, and make sense of the woman and her story. But making sense has never been Paul Schrader's strength as a director, and not only does he refuse to sort out her tale, but he ties a few stubborn knots of his own." What a pity not to have dug deeper, tried to understand why she acted as she did and what she really believed. A great true story wasted...

P.S. Trust the French to nominate this film for an award (Cannes film Festival). I suppose the jury was sorry they weren't there in 1974 so that they too (together with Schrader) can all merrily join the Symbionese Liberation Army! Vive la Revolution!
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Could Have Been More Captivating
qormi4 June 2011
The film held your interest throughout. The storyline was true to the events and there was absolutely no "preaching". The movie did not have an agenda and that was good. The ordeal Patty Hearst went through should have been more graphic or more powerful. She ended up coming off as a ditz - a dimwit. The members of the SLA were laughable. Cinque's politically motivated tirades were comical:"Capitalist oppressor pigs of Amerikkka!!!" Funny stuff. William Forsythe, who usually puts forth a convincing performance as the heavy (see "Out for Justice"), seemed to be on comic relief mode. He seemed like a member of "Saturday Night Live" doing a satire of this character. The film was obviously low budget. It should have shown the shootout in detail and the SLA members burning inside their hideout. This was glossed over and just showed televised news coverage of the burning house. The end did show the letdown Patty Hearst received when the media turned on her and law enforcement officials treated her badly. I don't think Natasha Richardson was up to the task. She really didn't convey any emotions other than confusion.
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Patty Hearst MGM DVD on Demand Quality review
pallmallguy2 May 2011
PATTY HEARST MGM DVD on Demand Quality Review This DVD is not digitally remastered but taken from the best print available so says the the makers of this DVD.

The movie is presented in widescreen which makes it a step up from the VHS and region 2 DVD releases.

Picture quality is very good much better then VHS and the region 2 releases, but thats not to say it's perfect.

There is some grain and video spotting in parts of the film most notably in the court room scenes. The early part of the movie is very clear. With this part of the movie being mostly in shadow and darkness the picture quality is excellent. You can see the background in these scenes much clearer then in the VHS and region 2 copies of the movie.Over all the picture quality is very good, on a scale for 1 to 10, 1 being VHS tape quality

and 10 being digitally remaster DVD quality I would give this release an 8 for picture quality.

Sound quality is excellent. The sound is very well balanced with dialog being crisp and clear and the music score is clear without being over powering. There is no unwanted background noise (hiss,hum,or buzzing). I would give this release an 9 for sound quality on a scale from 1 to 10.

The only extra is the movie trailer. There is no chapter search screen, you can jump ahead in the movie every 10 minutes by using the |<< >>| buttons on your DVD players remote.
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Careful recreation of history...necessarily repugnant, and not at all entertaining
moonspinner5511 July 2010
The 19-year-old daughter of a U.S. newspaper magnate is kidnapped in the early 1970s by the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left-wing urban militant group peopled with self-styled revolutionaries and guerrilla fighters; after 57 days in captivity, she is given her choice to be freed or join up with the SLA--she joins. Interesting adaptation of Patricia Hearst's memoir "Every Secret Thing" co-authored with Alvin Moscow, given artistic treatment by director Paul Schrader, who is alternately straightforward, historically reverential, and sometimes pretentious. The film has no entertainment value whatsoever (and moves at a mercilessly slow pace), but does have strong acting and is useful as a vivid recreation of this chapter in time. ** from ****
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Solid piece of film making
Milan6 October 2009
Paul Schrader is one of the most talented directors of so called "New Hollywood", and it's really strange that almost all the films he directed are poorly rated on IMDb. That refers to his most productive phase from 1978 to 1988, when he made crafty social dramas such as "Blue collar" and "Hardcore", stylistic look on rotten high class devouring the individual, such as "American gigolo", art house remake, such as "Cat people", and a true masterpiece, such as "Mishima - Life in four chapters". At the end of this period comes "Patty Hearst", a biography, or to be exact a segment in life of America's most famous hostage turned terrorist of the 70's. This subject, as interesting as it is, has a lot of pitfalls, for a film maker. Filming such a story may turn into an emotional travel down the road of ridiculousness, cemented in victim's distorted point of view. Not with craftsmen like Paul Schrader. He did this film just exactly as it should have been done, terrors of capture, mixed with bewilderment of being a hostage, turned into confusion and daze with one's captors, which is everything Patty Hearst went through in her months of captivity. Late Natasha Richardson's performance is indeed low key, but that's probably the way real Patty Hearst felt and behaved, after all the movie is based on her own book. Scenes of the first two weeks after the abduction, when all abductors appear as silhouettes in a doorway, and constant images of being shot and dumped in a ditch, perfectly show what was going through Patty Hearst's mind at the time. She was just 19 and like the opening of the movie said "ofcourse there's a little one can do to prepare for the unknown".

This film marked the end of Paul Schrader's directorial peak, but it's well done, well acted, character development and symbolism are in full use of the story, and it deserves a much higher rating than it has. If you're a fan of Schraders work, don't miss it, if not, well decide for yourself. Recommended!
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Just dull
preppy-319 March 2009
An (allegedly) accurate account of what happened when heiress Patricia Hearst (Natasha Richardson) was kidnapped by a terrorist group. They brainwashed her and she ended up helping them commit crimes.

Plenty of people have gone on and on and on (and on) about the politics of the movie. I can't really comment on that since I was only 12 when she was kidnapped and knew little about it. I saw this movie with no preconceived notions about whether it was true or false or if the politics were accurate. So (as a movie) this fails badly. It's flatly directed, badly acted (except for a few exceptions) and has a script that has some of the dumbest lines I've ever heard. All the "revolutionaires" ideals came across as extremely questionable and I actually started to laugh when Ving Rhames started spouting off about it. This is not to say that Rhames was bad (he was actually pretty good) but the lines he's given are just utter drivel. The only good thing about this is Richardson. Considering she has nothing to work with she's incredible. She convincingly fakes an American accent and Hearst's pain, confusion and terror come through. Still, her acting can't save this terrible movie. This bombed in 1988 and has since sunk without a trace. I heard that Hearst herself saw it and hated it. This really isn't worth your time. Skip it.
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comment on FAQ commentary
matlock7779 June 2007
To the commentator of FAQ:

Did you know that it may not be an anachronism for a 1975 car to be in a movie made for 1974 because you did not know that when the companies make the vehicles they make them 6 months before they send it out, they put the date as of that year that they come out. In other words, a vehicle is 1st manufactured in 6/1974-12/1974, but the company always would call it a 1975 model. Then, they make it from 1/1975-6/1975, and also gets the year model of 1975. I found that out a long time ago, 15-20 years ago. They do that every year. Therefore, it would not be an anachronism for a 1975 model to be given to a movie company for a 1974 movie.
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She walked out with empty arms, machine gun in her hand
movieman_kev14 February 2007
Based on a novel be Patty herself, this film is very suspect on the actual truth, but Director Paul Schrader does a pretty good job at making the film of Hearst's kidnapping by and subsequently joining with the moronic Symbionese Liberation Army compelling throughout the duration of the film. Opting for a seemingly objective approach despite the source material. Nothing new revolving the case will be gleamed for watching this though, and one will take from it the exact same view as what one goes into it with. Personally, I don't or can't sympathize with spoiled rich girl turned violent revolutionary turned praised celebrity Hearst, but I know that there are many that do. Natasha Richardson as Patty gives a serviceable, if nothing special, job. And Ving Rhames gives a good job himself as the cliché spewing leader of the pitifully sad SLA. This movie is also widely known to be the last of Paul Schrader's films to be any good at all, so there's always that.

My Grade: B-

Eye Candy: Natasha Richardson gets topless
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A Nice movie made from the victim's perspective
betasam12 April 2006
The movie, at first I thought was a typical late 1980 movie with fewer actors than newer films and a compact plot. But later I did quite a bit of reading on Patty Hearst following through Wikipedia. The first thing I noticed was that the movie had woven the facts together quite well. Yes, there are a few anachronisms as mentioned in an earlier comment, but I could catch just one of them. Things blend into the movie quite well as far as the victim is concerned. When the movie was made they had no way of knowing that 20-Jan-2001, the real Patty Hearst was given a full presidential pardon after analysis of the case which revealed that the defendant's lawyer was in most likelihood drunk on the day of trial. The movie doesn't concentrate on the trial, but more on the experiences making it a treat to watch.

It also scares us as to how fragile society might become with just one economic slide causing everyone to queue up at gas stations; that alone can re-start this guerrilla facade that, considering world politics today could turn out really ugly. The casting is impeccable, I just sat down comparing photographs of the real people with the cast; and there was an 80% resemblance. I like that part. I see this movie as a biopic though this term was not commonly employed when the movie was taken. The movie is relevant to recent times to show that no nation is any "less" vulnerable to insurgent work and possible insurgent fracture. Definitely worth the time to watch it, the movie is quite well made. For a fact the real Patty Hearst herself has acted in movies including a recent one, "A Dirty Shame."
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Shadow, light and gibberish
manuel-pestalozzi15 February 2006
California is drenched in sunshine. But Patty Hearst, member of one of the most famous and in the public opinion most wealthy families of the USA is brutally thrown into darkness. The California sun is still out there, you can almost feel it, some rays come through, but the light is most of the time shut out by walls or curtains. Once the nineteen-year-old woman reemerges, she is a revolutionary, called Tanya – like Che's lover, you dig?

This highly interesting, very stylish and well crafted movie tells about the ordeal, the disorientation, the reprogramming and the re-reprogramming of a young person who seems to be very much alone while trying to endure these transformations that are forced upon her. Any notion of society seems to dissolve into sheer madness. This retelling of actual facts, which is done exclusively and in straight chronological order from Patty's point of view, might or might not be a „doctored" account of events, it certainly is convincing and allows the viewers to commiserate with the main protagonist. She concludes at the end that society probably would have preferred her dead, and after seeing the movie one must say she has a point there (for this aspect it might be interesting to check out Robert Aldrich's The Grissom Gang).

The group dynamics and the insane pseudo revolutionary gibberish (sounds terribly dated!) has a real feel to it, all actors are believable in their roles. I thought that Ving Rhames was particularly effective as the group's leader, Cinque (and now I know that the name is not pronounced like the Italian word for the number five). Besides Natasha Richardson the performance of Jodi Long also caught my attention. Reminded me a little of Mercedes McCambridge. I hope I will be able to see her in other roles.
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a genuine Media icon
jongordon26 January 2006
Considering the film was made in 1988 I think it is now probably time for a remake, starring Karen 0 perhaps. It is quite cool that Patty herself was in 'Serial Mom', I remember seeing that in the cinema and Kathleen Turner made me laugh a lot. Anyway I wanna Patty with gun & SLA emblem tshirt does anyone make those? Much cooler than that jerk Guevara. Countercultural morale must've gone through the roof that weekend but Dog Day Afternoon is still the major squeeze 'hostage' film from that period. Get Jack White to play the SLA gangleader and Meg White to play Patty's mom. And how would a similar subject get handled today? Probably it wouldn't without the public chastisment of the bad girl from the good family.
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very good performances from Richardson and Rhames
triple823 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers

The movie Patty Hurst was rather overlooked-more so then I thought judging From the very few comments on here. It was actually pretty well done as a movie. It's told from Hurst's perspective with Natasha Richardson playing Patty. This actress-Richardson- somehow always manages to give a flawless performance, here she is at her best. Ving Rhames whom I'm a major fan of Is also wonderful. Both of them give performances so absolutely academy award worthy, that alone is reason enough to see the movie.

This is a tough movie to sit through but I never found it a bit boring and the superb direction added to the movie I thought. The story itself really leaves one with as many questions as answers but how could it do anything else? This is a pretty dark, stark drama and I can't say I always found it enjoyable but it is tremendously absorbing to watch and features performers who crackle with intensity giving performances that are on par with many academy award winners. If one can handle the brutality of the movie, and is a fan of these performers, it is worth checking out.
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Who Wants to be Liberated? Raise Your Hands.
Robert J. Maxwell16 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to believe that we once took this sort of stuff seriously -- all those stale bumper-sticker slogans, the merry-go-round minds. It seems like fiction now, but it surely wasn't at the time. I enjoyed wearing funny clothes in Berkeley, getting stoned with everyone else in New York, and observing the goings on at peace rallies in Philadelphia. But if we're going to be nostalgic for the late 60s and early 70s, this is a reminder that in some ways they were pretty lousy years.

When they move to LA, one of the ladies in the SLA says, "No gas. No electricity. At LAST we're really poor!" The SLA, a couple of black ex-cons and their white slaves, were seen as legitimate by a lot of people. Honest, there was widespread sympathy for them, especially academics and the kind of people who wished they could be poor and black. "Rolling Stone"s Man of the Year in, I think, 1970 was Charles Manson -- and the tribute wasn't sarcastic. Violent revolution had acquired functional autonomy: revolution because it was good in and of itself.

The movie is like a trip to Disneyland. It's so dated that it's hard to believe it wasn't faked. It depends entirely on Patty Hearst's memoirs of her captivity, so its perspective is limited to what she sees. It was supposed to reveal "all the secret things," but the fact is that the book, like the movie, isn't really very enlightening. Her movements are spelled out okay, but Natasha Richardson's narration doesn't really tell us anything much about the reasons for Patty's change from frightened captive to frightened but willing accomplice. "I went deeper and deeper into myself," says the narration. (How do you do that?) Richardson is really about as good as you can get. If she can't tell us very much that we can't already guess (Patty was scared to death) at least she manages to bring a certain idiosyncratic quality to the blank that Patty seems to have been. Ving Rhames is Great -- a fine BOOMING baritone who is scary as hell as he pounds his big bear chest and shouts, "I AM a prophet!" Right on, Bro! The other SLA members are less distinguished. I couldn't remember their names. Dana Delaney is the "nice" SLA member who combs Patty's hair and clues her in on what the rules are around here. Bill Forsythe (my supported player in "Weeds") is also good if a bit monotonous as the white guy who wants to be black and kill lots of pigs. After the bonfire in LA, Forsythe sits morosely with a new group of white SLA recruits and moans, "We need black leadership." Frances Fisher is also memorable, bitter, and as cold as an icicle.

Schrader's compositions and lighting are sometimes arty, but seldom enough so to distract from the story. He gets in a few good licks at the middle-class hypocrites too. While the LA safe house is burning on TV, Patty shuts herself away in the bathroom of a motel across the street from Disneyland. ("All the bourgeois comforts," says Forsythe when they enter the room.) And here is how Schrader shows us Patty's suffering while the safe house burns and she realizes that the cops and the media are kind of hoping she's inside, dying. Patty is curled up against the bathtub at the left of the screen. On the right of the screen is a blindingly white sink. In the middle of the screen is an equally antiseptic closed toilet with one of those paper ribbons across the top that signify that no one has opened the toilet since the ribbon was placed there. It's neatly done. Patty a blotch of color in the fetal position, surrounded by middle-class comforts, but on the other side of the bathroom door, between her and the exit, between her and safety, are two insanely furious SLA members watching the death of their comrades on the news.

Was she guilty? Well, what is guilt? Look, if a man loses his arm, can he be blamed for being a lousy driver? Patty didn't suffer a physical loss. It was a social loss but as Durkheim argued, social facts are as real as physical ones. All of us are products of our experiences. That's why those of us who did not undergo her travails can afford to condemn her as a criminal. She was brainwashed. In a sense we've been brainwashed too, only in a different direction.
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Decent early Ving Rhames; film only of interest to certain audience
smatysia3 August 2002
Natasha Richardson, as Patty Hearst, does a decent job with the role. I suppose she is speaking so slowly all the time to keep her British accent under control, but it makes her sound stoned. (Richardson did an excellent job with an American (Southern) accent a few years later in "Nell". Ving Rhames did a bang-up (ha-ha) job as the SLA terrorist, and you really have to hand it to him for being able to spout off all that Marxist, revolutionary drivel and still keep a straight face. That rhetoric sounds so ludicrous in 2002, and frankly it was pretty absurd by 1974. This is really only worth catching on TV if you're interested in the subject matter, not worth a rental. Grade: C-
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VerhoHo22 September 2000
I've watched this film quite a few times now, and frankly it just keeps getting better. Stylish and disturbing as only Paul Schrader can be, this film is also notable for its fantastic performances. Ving Rhames walks a paper-thin line between madness and parody. And of course there is the awesome William Forsythe who singlehandedly takes the film to another level. His performances are so astounding in general that they can even make Steven Segal (Out For Justice) watchable. This film served a respectable political purpose as well. Few people really understood what happened to Patty Hearst, especially if you were around to watch her be demonized by the media in the 70's. This film does a brilliant job of putting you in the shoes of a woman who lived through an unimaginable experience. (10/10)
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a more interesting film than meets the eye
tlon16 August 2000
i don't agree with the comments of the other viewers. i think that the filmmakers purposefully created a detached style to inspire a more objective engagement in the story from the viewer. because the real interest of the patty hearst story, apart from being a totally unique and fascinating part of american mythology, is the mystery of "what really happened?" since the movie was based on patty hearst's side of things, it would have been very easy to create an emotionally engaging (or, read: manipulative) narrative that wholly supported her version of the story. officially the filmmakers had to present her version, but i think the way in which it was constructed purposefully makes you conscious, the whole time, of the various possibilities of reality that could have existed. and who is to say there is only one reality? certainly not these filmmakers.
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