The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
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Index 87 reviews in total 

Italian experiments

Author: carlesmiquel from Mexico
11 January 2016

Asia Argento keeps the tradition of her father's fantastically crazy, brutal and experimental films. She knows how to deal with the darkness, the horror of something people wouldn't even dare to talk about. With a cast that really works, Asia Argento brings a truthful film, a brutal film to ponder about three things: Love, lust and loneliness. All with a sprinkle of religious fanaticism, drugs and deeply disturbed minds.

Acting is, by all means, what makes this film so strong. All performances are brilliant. The "experimental", almost child-like cinematography is unnerving and spot-on. The music and all the other elements in sound design are equally chilly.

The fact that a little boy is involved in the film, makes it more disturbing. Asia Argento (I suppose) played the main role because I guess it wouldn't be easy to ask any other one to do so in America.

I hope no American director or writer will even try to do a re-make of this film, because it's pure giallo in the 2000's, and that's a big thing. Sure, it's a hellraiser for many, but it absolutely shines as what it was intended to be. Many people may not like these sort of genre (giallo is a genre in itself) and will be repelled even by the idea of watching it. So don't. But for people who like European films that usually are honest and brutal, well... you won't easily find anything in this era made in the US so giallo :)

Thumbs up for Asia... she's always been a great actress (even when she was pretty young, she appeared in some of her dad's films), a great writer and a daring director.

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It's absolutely brilliant

Author: Van Carballo (vanlove) from United States
15 July 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


This movie has a brilliant message that needs to be taken into consideration. This is a type of movie that makes you start to wonder, what are we really allowing ourselves to believe. Not necessarily To totally change our beliefs, but to consider the other side of our belief. That is what makes a great movie. There is a good and a bad side to everything and everyone, even religion. I think the most important message in this movie was that Sarah needed Jeremiah way more than Jeremiah needed Sarah, and sometimes it's good to switch it up a bit and say, "hey, the adult's are wrong this time." The symbolism was amazing as well.

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The weight of the JT LeRoy legend, child actors, and Argento's double duty, eventually becomes too much.

Author: jon-not-john from USA
8 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If there is any such thing as film royalty, then Asia Argento surely belongs in its ranks. Not the snobby, upper levels with the likes of Sophia Coppola or Nick Cassavetes, but the grittier, "cool kid" level. The offspring of Italian horror legend Dario Argento and some beautiful model, Asia Argento has just recently come into her own as acting and directing presence. She has been appearing in European television and low budget horror films for some time, but her turn in Romero's Land of the Dead and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things mark the beginning of what will most likely become her trademark style.

With Heart, Argento splits her time between acting and directing. This is a tall order for anyone. The film is based on the work of JT LeRoy and is suppose to be a biographical account of his tortured and turbulent youth. In reality JT LeRoy is a concoction of a New England couple hoping that the gimmick of a sexually confused white trash novelist would propel them into wealth. It worked, for a while. From scenes of sexual abuse and maternal abandonment Argento conveys the sickly feel of the novels and manages to coax bewilderment out of her youngest actor, Jimmy Bennett as Jeremiah. While her direction is adequate she brings a Gummo like quality to the role of Jeremiah's reluctant mother Sarah. For someone who grew up in wealth, even wealth generated from Dario Argento's giallo fantasies, it must be hard to channel someone like Sarah. Her struggle is evident as Sarah seems more like a Jerry Springer guest than the real deal. Perhaps Argento had too much to deal with and her acting suffered. It doesn't ruin the film, but it isn't a strong performance by any standard.

Argento has said that at the time of filming she did not know that JT LeRoy was a hoax. Looking back it's hard to imagine that people really did believe in this extreme version of a Maury episode that that was passed off as LeRoy's back-story. This unreal quality is present in the film. The abusive family, the magnitude of maternal apathy, it never connects. It feels like a child's fairy tale. Albeit a ferocious one. At times the film is seen completely through the eyes of Jeremiah. This brings to mind Terry Gilliam's recent film about a child coping with a nightmarish life, Tideland. In that film though, the fairy tale elements are exaggerated and given life. Argento allows no such escape for her tiny protagonist. He is trapped in the real world, and not his head like Gilliam's Jeliza- Rose.

The film begins to fall apart with the introduction of Peter Fonda as the bible thumping grandpa monster. By this time Jimmy Bennett has been replaced with twins Dylan and Cole Spouse whose Disney Channel looks cannot be overcome. By the time Argento reappears it's too late, and movie drags through its last third without the emotional punch that it began with.

The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things makes attempts to be a children's horror fable about lost youth, and the worst family imaginable. The weight of the JT LeRoy legend, child actors, and Argento's double duty, eventually become too much and by the middle the film is off the rails. By no means a disaster, Heart is a mediocre offering at best. There are glimpses of the passion Asia Argento put into the project, and some decent scenes that showcase her talent. This may not be the artistic statement its director was hoping for, but its evidence that it is only a matter of time before she produces such a work.

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Disturbing is an understatement

Author: Cormac Bronach
12 May 2013

I was glad that this particular story was fictitious but such cruelty does happen to boys by sadistic mothers & women. High female abuse statistics suggest that sexual abuse of females are way more prevalent than males. That is only so because male sexual abuse is not recorded world wide as females are. I'm glad a film finally came out exposing the truth that there are mothers & women out there just as evil & depraved toward sons/boys as fathers & men toward daughters/girls, opposing the societal feminist pseudo view that females are inherently kind & males are innately contemptible. But you wont hear me bullshit about how I've never had a problem with any male I've known or label all females fools that sicken me. The deceptive heart is a human trait, residing in every gender & race.

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The Trials of Job

Author: billcr12 from United States
18 August 2012

A long title taken from a verse in the Bible, and directed by and starring Asia Argento, this unhappy tale of a drug addicted mother, Sarah(Argento) and her son, Jeremiah, from age seven to eleven. Mom has series of relationships with abusive men, and she abandons her boy and travels to Atlantic City with Emerson, who she leaves to head back home. Emerson shows up and rapes the boy, who is taken to a hospital, where his grandmother takes him to West Virginia, to live with his grandfather who leads a Christian cult. Three years later super mom reappears to reclaim the kid. Her newest boyfriend, Ken, leaves them at a truck stop where Sarah turns tricks, and decides to dress her boy up as a girl in order to attract men; my God, what a family. Just when you thought it was not possible, it gets worse. Mommy and her cross dressing boy wind up in a house which is a meth lab, which is too much to resist for Sarah, and after an explosion kills her most recent boyfriend, she is convinced that any other then soda and chips are poison. They shoplift and Jeremiah scavenges a hamburger out of a dumpster, which mom thinks will do him in, and so she gives him ipecac to force vomiting. A hospital is the next stop for the kid, and the psych ward for his mother. If you can make it this far, you might as well hang in there for the ending, which as wacky as the rest of this insane drama. Watch at your own risk.

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Hard to watch, impossible to turn off

Author: anacabrera from United States
17 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie was at times slow, but still very good. Extremely tragic and depressing at times. The reality of this is almost to hard to think about. The movie is one that will resonate in your mind long after you watch.

As a Jeremy Renner fan - very tough to get through his scenes.

I wish there was some sort of redemption - though I do know that in real life - sometimes it just doesn't happen that way. However, for a story so disturbing and tragic the director did do a great job in making it still artistic enough to not feel like we are violators by watching.

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The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (2004)

Author: SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain from United Kingdom
5 January 2012

Asia Argento presents a bleak, disturbing and horrific film. Argento refuses to undermine the story by offering no final solution. The films main purpose is to make the audience feel very uncomfortable. Problems like child abuse are easy to put aside as coverage of real life events must always be handled with tact. Argento goes for a more direct approach. Argento and the boys all give sterling performances, and are aided by a never-ending stream of boyfriends from Manson-Renner. Each of these is not only a credible character by themselves. They also tools to build upon Argento's character. The Sprouse boys have certainly come along way and their performances are intune with each other. Wonderful, but not light, stuff.

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Powerful and Brutal!!!

Author: Pumpkin_Man from United States
12 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I stumbled upon this movie 4 days ago. I found this under movies that Marilyn Manson was in, so I clicked on it and the synopsis. It sounded like it had a really good plot, so I ordered it. It was a really good and interesting movie that dealt with drug addiction, child abuse, and child rape! I probably wouldn't recommend that you watch this with your parents. A drug-addict/hooker named Sarah takes her son, Jeremiah back, but he doesn't like her, so he runs away. Sarah finds him and gets with an abusive guy that rapes and beats Jeremiah. Jeremiah is sent to live with Sarah's God-obsessed parents. After three years, Sarah is back and takes Jeremiah with her again. Sarah soon realizes that if she is going to keep her men, then she cannot say Jeremiah is her son, so she persuades him to cross dressing. (Don't think I'm gay, but I honestly think Jeremiah looked extremely sexy dressed as a girl.) It's too bad that Marilyn Manson only had a 5 minute cameo, because he was really good. Sarah and Jeremiah go into hiding because she thinks everyone is after them. She makes him think that certain foods are poisoned and makes him drink ipecac. Asia Argento, and the Sprouse brothers did an awesome job. Asia also did a great job at directing. If you love child abuse, drugs, and cross dressing kids, you'll love THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS!!!

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A well-thought-out piece of film-making.

Author: info-2209 from Los Angeles
12 May 2007

Rented this film out of curiosity towards Ms. Argento's film-making. While the film got off to a shaky start, it quickly evolved into a well-crafted and creatively interesting piece of film-making. While the subject matter of the story itself is upsetting to say the least, it is very well handled. Clearly Ms. Argento has a knack for weaving a compelling and meaningful tale. It will be interesting to see what stories she chooses to tell next and what kinds of characters she will choose to play in her upcoming projects. Overall, this film is worth watching, but make sure you are prepared for some heavy subject matter as it doesn't pull its punches!

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The Heart is Deceitful

Author: cecilnguyen from United States
17 April 2007

From cult author JT LeRoy's best selling novel The Heart is Deceitful Above all Things, comes Asia Argento's bold cinematic adaptation of the controversial story of a mother and her son living hard and fast in the dark fringes of America. Written and directed by Asia Argento (Scarlet Diva, XXX, Land of the Dead, and shot by Eric Alan Edwards (Kids, My Own Private Idaho), The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things boasts a stunning cast that includes Academy Award nominee Peter Fonda, Jeremy Renner (North Country), Michael Pitt (Hedwig and the Angrey Inch, Last Days), Marilyn Manson, John Robinson (Elephant, Lords of Dogtown), Jimmy Bennett (Poseidon , Polar Express, Daddy Day Care) and Cole and Dylan Sprouse as Jerremiah. This movie has me intrigued throughout and i can not wait to see it again. everyone will agree that this movie packs a punch that is worth watching over and over.

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