7.0/10
18,666
198 user 62 critic

Playing by Heart (1998)

Trailer
0:26 | Trailer
Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in Los Angeles.

Director:

Willard Carroll

Writer:

Willard Carroll
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Angelina Jolie ... Joan
Dennis Quaid ... Hugh
April Grace ... Valery
Patricia Clarkson ... Allison
Gena Rowlands ... Hannah
Sean Connery ... Paul
Gillian Anderson ... Meredith
Christian Mills Christian Mills ... Phillip
Kellie Waymire ... Jane
Madeleine Stowe ... Gracie
Anthony Edwards ... Roger
Ellen Burstyn ... Mildred
Jay Mohr ... Mark
Tim Halligan ... Cook Show Director
Michael Emerson ... Bosco
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Storyline

Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in Los Angeles. Paul produces Hannah's television 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 A.I.D.S., and his mother comes to his bedside: they must speak 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 meets 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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ryan Phillippe didn't tell the filmmakers that he was going to dye his hair blue. The first they knew of it was when he turned up on set on the day of filming with his hair a different color. Most of the cast and crew were taken aback, but writer and director Willard Carroll liked it. Coincidentally, Angelina Jolie dyed her hair on the same day. See more »

Goofs

Although Joan's cat is called Blanche and is consistently referred to as "she", the actual animal is a male (tomcat). See more »

Quotes

Paul: The wonderful thing about falling in love is you learn everything about that person and so quickly. And if it's true love, then you start to see yourself through their eyes. And it brings out the best in you. It's almost as if you're falling in love with yourself.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

Trailer includes scenes of sexual encounter between Anthony Edwards and Madeline Stowe. See more »

Connections

References Contempt (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Impossible
(1967)
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
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User Reviews

Good, but not great
9 July 1999 | by BratBoy-2See all my reviews

Talking about love is like dancing about architecture," claims Angelina Jolie as Joan in Playing By Heart. An ensemble romance that should at least be notable for bringing together such a large and diverse cast, Playing By Heart is an enjoyable romantic tale of eleven people in Los Angeles whose lives are interconnected.

Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands play the oldest couple. Dealing with old age, Gena discovers that Sean considered having an affair during their 40 years of marriage. Learning to deal with this 25 years later, Rowlands and Connery are very good as a couple going through changes late in life. Connery is as dashing as ever, and him and Rowlands seem they have been together for 40 years. Their story is convincing and refreshing.

Keenan (Ryan Phillippe) and Joan (Angelina Jolie) are the youngest couple, two club kids looking for companionship in a complex world that Connery and Rowlands had never conceived of. Their story is as engaging and believable as that of Hannah and Paul. Jolie is the real star of this movie. No matter how composed she makes Joan out to be, we can always see her insecurities lurking just beneath the surface. Phillippe has little to do but bounce off of Jolie's tour-de-force, but he does it admirably and they make a sexy, believable young couple.

John Stewart and Gillian Anderson are also very good. She is a lonely theater director and he is a lonely architect. They have a natural unforced chemistry that you wouldn't expect from these two very different television personalities. Although their relationship in the script seems ill-conceived, their performances almost make up for it.

Madeline Stowe and Anthony Edwards are the most unappealing and ridiculous couple in the movie. As a couple cheating on their respective spouses, they have secret rendezvous in a hotel room almost every night from what it would seem. We never know the specifics of anything which is amusing at first, but becomes tired by the end of the film, as do the performances of Edwards and Stowe.

Ellen Burstyn and Jay Mohr play a mother and son. Mark is dying of AIDS and his mother rushes to his bedside. Mark and become very close before he dies. Although Burstyn and Mohr are good their story gets little screen time and thus doesn't feel as important as it should be.

Finally, Dennis Quaid is a man who spends his evenings in bars telling fantastical stories to anyone who will listen. Why does he do this? I can't give away the film, but the answer isn't truly satisfying, although Quaid gives a very good performance.

The stories all manage to come together in the end in a way that's clever and satisfying. While not the best movie, Playing By Heart has its heart in the right places and manages to have some keen insights into love and relationships.

Grade:B+


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

22 January 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

If They Only Knew See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,669, 3 January 1999

Gross USA:

$3,970,078

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,970,078
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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