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Playing by Heart (1998)

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Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in L.A.



1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Mills ...


Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in L.A. Paul produces Hannah's TV cooking show, and they must move beyond gentle barbs when she wants to know about an affair of his years ago. Mark is dying of AIDS, and his mother comes to his bedside: they must talk truthfully. Men have scalded Meredith so she rebuffs Trent's charm, but he persists. The trendy, prolix Joan tries to pull the solitary Keenan into her orbit: why is he reluctant? An adulterous couple meet at hotels for evening sex, but she is unwilling for the relationship to grow. Hugh tells tall tales, usually tragic, to women in bars. By the week's end, their parallel stories converge. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


If romance is a mystery, there's only one way to figure it out. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »






Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dancing About Architecture  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$26,669 (USA) (1 January 1999)


$3,956,212 (USA) (19 February 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Originally titled 'Dancing About Architecture'. The movie still contains the line from which this title was taken: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture." See more »


Throughout the entire movie, whenever there is a scene (and there are many) involving martinis, between shots the olives and level of vodka in the glass change. This happens many time when a character either eats an olive or is about to eat one, it will re-appear in the glass seconds later. Also - many times where the character is starting to say something, and the view is changed to be from their point of view and their lips are no longer moving. See more »


Joan: Hugh designs video games.
Keenan: Any I'd know?
Hugh: Uh..."Killer Golf" That was the last.
Keenan: Oh, man. That game was awesome! You have a hell of an imagination.
Joan: Hey, you owe me a dance.
Keenan: Just one?
Joan: No.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening scenes introducing the major characters list their character names with subtitles, but not the actors/actresses who are portraying them. See more »


References Contempt (1963) See more »


It's Impossible
Written by André Previn and Dory Previn
From the Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture "Valley of the Dolls"
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
See more »

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User Reviews

People need to watch movies with their mind as well as their time
22 October 1999 | by (Indiana) – See all my reviews

I was quite impressed with the entire presentation of the film. The characters were well developed, individual, and full of potential and humanity. The relationships were actual and realistic, a wonderful break from the Fantasy of Sleepless in Seattle (or You've Got Mail, pick the title you want). The presentation of people with problems and realistic responses to these problems and the people who are affected by these problems really makes this movie more than a past-time; it is a gift, showing us what we are and what we can become with some work and maybe a small paradigm shift.

Everyone did a wonderful job of presenting real people, Sean Connery found a role which allowed him to be his age but not loose that which he is loved for: sinful good looks and flawless composure. Gillian Anderson was so good that by the end I had almost stopped waiting for Molder to arrive. But for me Angelina Jolie was the centerpiece, as she showed the greatest degree of development and growth, epitomizing the struggle that each person was going through.

To me, the plot was a lot more complicated than just the feelings that develop from watching the movie, and the depth of perception is honestly presented in the comments of the other reviewers; most seem to have watched the movie with so much intensity that they got up 35 minutes into it to go and tell the popcorn boy to give them a new bag because they had specifically asked for NO butter. This movie is cognitive to the degree it is affective. It takes one relationship and divides it up into several stages (seen as the family members' relationships), and in doing so it allows us to see relational development in ways we normally can't, just as we repeatedly see the time of day change against the buildings.

It is funny, it is romantic, but it is true. And I am thankful for its gift of sight: into life, into death.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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