The Price of a Broken Heart (TV Movie 1999) Poster

(1999 TV Movie)

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nothing special, but not a bad movie; restaurant scenes were the best
vchimpanzee5 October 2003
In this fact-based story set in North Carolina, Dot Hutlemeyer finds out her husband Joe, an insurance executive, has been cheating on her for three years with his secretary Lynn. She sues under the alienation of affection law, a 200-year-old statute which, ironically, was written to protect men at a time when women were treated as property.

The movie opens with a discussion of the court case in a restaurant, and the story is told in flashbacks. First we see how Dot and Joe met at a dance club, then we see home movies, and then Lynn is introduced as a wallflower who has an unhappy marriage and wishes her life was like Joe's. The movie goes back and forth between the lively restaurant discussions and scenes from the past, and eventually we see court testimony, which leads to still more flashbacks (and don't think we won't go back to the restaurant).

Joe and Lynn began their relationship after Joe was promoted to head of his company's Burlington office and Lynn started trying to look sexy. Circumstances may or may not have required them to travel together. Eventually, Lynn became a vice president, though her duties didn't seem to change. Dot was clueless, but the office workers started gossiping.

This movie was nothing special. Park Overall gave a good performance as the jilted wife, and Laura Innes did pretty well as the mistress. Both lawyers did a fine job in closing arguments. But if not for the restaurant scenes, the movie would have been nothing more than mediocre. Still, going back and forth from restaurant to courtroom to flashbacks was confusing.

There was some comedy, in the restaurant as well as the office. At least one scene recalled those Diet Coke commercials where the construction worker took his shirt off. And in church, a pastor preached on the evils of gossip while church members whispered to each other. One of the guilty parties thought the sermon was the best she ever heard.

This movie is worth seeing, just because it is yet another case of a woman standing up and fighting for a cause she believes in.
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Really very good.
triple87 December 2003
This was actually a very good movie. Based on a true story(I think) it is about a woman who sues her husband's mistress for breaking up her marriedge. It's a really good movie-the beginning drags a little, but it steadily picks up momentum and raises alot of interesting questions. This is a movie that might appeal to many, I liked it, not just because I like court movies but because I admired the wife SO much and the empowering coarse of action she took. I enjoy movies about remarkable people who fight for what they believe in. The movie constantly changes from court scenes to the events leading up to the suit to people chatting in a diner about their feelings on the issue. I'd solidly recomend watching this movie, it was well done.
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A true story provides an excuse for an unconvincing film
crossrad25 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film is based on a true story arising from the use of an obscure old law enabling prosecution to be brought when an adulterous relationship develops. The true story provides a prop for the film to fend off criticism, without which I feel it would be unconvincing and would probably not have been made.

The legal issues take second place in the film, with far more flashbacks to the couple and the affair than time in the court room. If you are hoping for a courtroom drama you will be disappointed, with the mechanics of the trial, and any scenes in the jury room being left out. The question of the standard of proof required to distinguish a woman aiming to break up a marriage, from a woman falling in love with a married man is touched on only lightly.

The film undermines its own structure by putting the end of the trial at the start of the film, and putting the story in as flashbacks. The affair is played out in an entirely predictable manner, with the scenes of deceit, eventual confession and divorce that you might expect. There are only two possible outcomes and when the verdict arrives I felt that it appeared somewhat arbitrary and doesn't justify the wait. There is no major plot point introducing conflict, other than the obvious one of adultery and the legal issue, which are known to the viewer right from the start.

It is played as a comedy as well as a drama - the central characters in the love triangle are deadly serious, but the office workers are played larger than life, for comedic effect. This implies that the film- makers took the view, probably correctly, that it is a somewhat absurd law. Adultery may be wrong, but it is only possible with the consent of the wayward spouse who must share in the blame. So although the premise of the film is an intriguing and original one, the film doesn't present it as one that the viewer can really care about and this limits the emotional impact that the film can ultimately achieve.
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