One From the Heart Review

The Film

Speaking as someone entering his mid-life crisis, reality is rather disappointing. I look around and see that my peers have come to the same conclusion as some flirt with women half their age, others dress like Justin Bieber pere and many others wreck their settled homes, personal lives and their credit ratings in search of what they believe they were promised. Personally, I discovered coloured socks - it seemed a cheaper option than a Maserati and I reluctantly accepted that I lack the imagination and resources to win Uma Thurman's attentions.imageIt could have all been so different. If the world had told me I was the greatest film-maker alive, if Oscars had littered my living room and I got enough money to build my own studios..well then I could have thrown money at my dreams. One From The Heart was the first in a slew of films where Coppola ploughed a lone furrow of glamorous independence and commercial disaster. From the perspective of this ageing viewer, the film was both glorious folly and the peak of the director's efforts in cinema.

For this is a work which practically and thematically exercises fantasies like few others. Beginning in the humdrum outskirts of Las Vegas where a loser couple are embarking upon the latest row of their imperfect, frustrated existence. Hank lives and works in junk and nonsense, whilst the dreams that Frannie had seen in him die with her hopes of Bora Bora and romantic adventure. Separation ensues, and Frannie finds the passionate piano playing Ray whilst Hank captures the affections of the acrobat Leila. Will Hank and Frannie follow their dreams or reconcile to their reality?imageShot entirely on lots, filled with swooping camera shots and entrancing vivid lighting, One From The Heart is most definitely far from naturalistic. It embraces whimsy and the mechanisms of musical fantasy whilst embodying feeling and dreams in nearly every stylised frame. It positively drips with sentiment and risks seeming ridiculous in its passionate pursuit of liberation from the real world.

The gaudy kitsch of Las Vegas is played for its pop sentimentality and the sensational score from Tom Waits makes much more narrative sense than anything in the story. In fact, probably the most jarring part of watching such an ebullient spirited work of cinema is how it ends up in a rather upsetting compromise. Is the director saying that all this dreaming is lovely but what you really need to do is be happy with your lot, or is he saying that eventually our lives are every bit as uninspiring as we deserve? Whatever Coppola means it rather lets down his flights of fancy.imageIn the end, what makes One From The Heart so special is what it shows is possible with liberated and passionate images, beautiful moments and some $26 million. That it never truly believes in breaking free of it's grey surroundings matters less than what it shows the viewer when it tries to dream. So I tell you - ignore the message and enjoy what you see and hear.

Technical Specs

Studio Canal deliver the film in Academy Ratio as it was shot on a barebones, region 2 locked disc. This is is a heavily interlaced transfer which will make your player work hard to show off the beautiful colours of this movie. Thankfully, the image is not over bright or obviously contrast boosted and edges are natural enough. For a film that has as much camera movement as this one, the lack of a progressive image is a disappointment.imageThis is a disc designed for the German market as well and consequently German subs and audio track are included with the stereo English track. The American 2-disc release offers 5.1 and a music only score so this release doesn't compare too well in those respects.


This is a barebones release with no extras.


A truly remarkable mid life crisis kind of film that is obviously flawed. This is a budget release with a so-so transfer.

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