I might have enjoyed "Desert Hearts" more if it had been more subtle and observant about the two women. It might have been a better movie if it had been about discovery instead of seduction. The screenplay by Natalie Cooper would have benefitted from an overhaul there are times when the actresses are stuck there on the screen, reciting lines that are awkwardly literal and designed only to further or explain the plot. And yet "Desert Hearts" has undeniable power, and the power comes, I think, from the chemistry between Shaver and Charbonneau.
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You probably have seen Shaver before, but you may not be quite sure who she is. Her widest exposure came in the TV series "United States. Patricia Charbonneau is a newcomer in her first role, and she has such a direct, unaffected strength that I imagine we'll be seeing more of her. The two women circle each other like wary competitors during the opening stages of "Desert Hearts," and because you can see the intelligence in their eyes as well as the lust in their hearts, the drama is much stronger than the dialogue.
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Then, eventually, comes the big love scene, and the reason it is so strong, I think, is that the director, Donna Deitch, didn't try to make it fancy. Instead of turning it into some kind of erotic music video - in which the real subject is not sex but the director's cleverness - she lets the scene build according to its own rhythms. The result is one of the few genuinely powerful erotic passages in recent movies.
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Where did so many directors get the idea that passion in the editing room equates passion on the screen, and that if you have lots of fancy cutting, that indicates great sex? I have a notion they would have done some scenes over if they'd had the time and money. The movie makes no large statement; it is not a philosophical exploration of lesbianism, just the story of two women and their attraction.
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It's not a great movie, but it works on its own terms. This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland.
He and a fr After 22 years, Gattaca is still a plausible, thoughtful tale of discrimination, disability, and worth set in a world Both films expose a raw weirdness and sexuality among characters, and they each convey a somewhat twisted view of Americana. There were straight men, gay men, it was a mix.
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People saw it as a potentially quite commercial film. As Deitch introduced stars Helen Shaver Vivian Bell and Patricia Charbonneau Cay Rivvers from the stage, the actors stood and briefly kissed for the entertainment of the audience. In , a bad review from The New York Times was a death sentence for a small indie film with relatively unknown stars, according to Deitch. So the lesbian director again took matters into her own hands with an unorthodox solution: She made leaflets advertising the film and walked around the city with her brother, handing them out to people waiting on lines outside of movie theaters.