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An Artistic Experience Redeems a Mundane Plot in Heaven's Heart
"If you don't know someone after 20 years, how will you ever " This is the big question that the movie Heaven's Heart asks the audience to face if you can't really understand your spouse after 20 years of marriage, how can you ever truly understand anyone at all?
The film Heaven's Heart begins with the audience seeing the main couple of the film, Susanna and Lars, getting a divorce and they have no idea why. The film then flashes back to 6 months earlier to a dinner party between Susanna & Lars and their best friends Ann & Ulf. At this dinner party the topic of infidelity is brought up because a colleague of Lars has left his wife and kids for a much younger woman. Susanna and Ulf both defend the man saying that if he has really fallen in love then it is much better that he should leave his wife and kids then staying and being miserable. Lars and Ann both argue strongly against infidelity, saying that they would never want to risk everything they have and they wouldn't ever consider it. This division of opinion between Lars & Ann and their spouses brings the two together in their realization that they both greatly fear that their spouse will find someone else and leave them. The connection that Lars & Ann make eventually leads them to beginning an affair. In the end, although Lars & Ann have previously claimed to be in love, Ann ends up renewing her vows with her husband Ulf, and although they are divorced it appears that Lars & Susanna will also be reuniting despite everything they have been through.
It is disappointing that a movie with a very interesting premise and a group of seemingly strong and complex characters would turn out to be so mundane. At the end of the day everything turned out the same. While both Ann & Ulf and Susanna & Lars have suffered great trials in their relationships during the year that the movie spans they both end up back with their spouses exactly where they began. I thought that I was going to be able to be proud of at least a couple of the characters in the film, but in the end I turned out to be hugely disappointed by everyone except for Elin, Lars & Susanna's daughter who is never actually shown on screen.
Ulf is a player from the start, always discussing with Lars if he should pursue an affair with another woman. While he has never been unfaithful to Ann in action it seems that his heart has wondered off more than a couple times.
Ann is a tragically insecure woman who has lied to her husband from the start out of her fear that he wouldn't marry her/would leave her. I was incredibly frustrated by her and her half-hearted justification to her best friend over how she could essentially steal her husband.
Lars was an incredibly weak character, who turned out to be quite the manipulator in the end. While he seemed very sweet and innocent at the beginning of the affair, he basically turns into a con-artist when he comes crawling back to Susanna after his relationship with Ann ends.
Susanna was a character that I really wanted to like but in the end I was so disappointed with her I almost would have enjoyed the movie if she had been able to stay strong and tell her ex-husband to shove it when he tried to get back with her, but instead of moving on and realizing she deserved much better than Lars, she held onto his hand and looked into his eyes signaling that she too would like things to go back to the way that they had been before.
The main thing that actually kept me interested in the film was the impressive use and color in both the wardrobe and set choices. I loved the way in which the director and set designer were so specific in the colors that they choose for absolutely everything in the film, it was a great way to enhance the film and keep the audience engaged. Even without hearing the words spoken by the characters the evolution of their clothing and the furniture around them told a very clear story. For example at the beginning of the film both Ann & Lars are wearing a similar periwinkle blue when they bond over their fear of spousal infidelity and they begin an affair. After the affair is begun the audience only sees Ann in bright, bold colors while Susanna is always seen in black. The stark contrast between the two women's clothing is a very telling sign of the state of their relationships. Overall the use of color in the film is the most engaging aspect.
While this movie, in the end, has an extremely mundane plot, it is not necessarily a bad movie; it's just not a very good movie. The use of color as a story telling element and the compelling sets that are designed around tables and conversation make for a very interesting visual experience and overall makes this movie one worth viewing simply to see how simple choices like clothing & furniture color can make such a huge impact on a film.
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