Playing by Heart
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Sophomore writer/director Willard Carroll weaves together an all-star cast in interlocking stories about finding love in Los Angeles. The film's theme is spoken by young club-hopper Joan (Angelina Jolie). Taken by the mysterious Keenan (Ryan Phillippe), she tells him that "talking about love" is like "dancing about architecture" (the original title until the studio thought it would be confused with Dancing at Lughnasa), meaning speech is not the medium to adequately express the details of love. They all try, anyway. Others up for the dance include a TV cooking-show… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Carroll's characters spend so much time talking, albeit intelligently, that the connections they make seem peculiarly synthetic."
‑ Lael Loewenstein, Variety
"If Playing by Heart is the kind of film that used to be known as a "woman's picture," it certainly provides more emotional nourishment than most other mainstream movies generate these days."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Carroll's milieu is resolutely middle class and the crises encountered all too predictable."
‑ , Sight and Sound
"Playing By Heart tries hard and sometimes succeeds -- and Jolie is terrific."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"An underrated, dreamy drama about love, lust and infidelity amongst inter-connected Los Angeleans. Jolie rises to the challenge."
‑ Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia)
"This charming romantic comedy with a Los Angeles setting cuts between seemingly unconnected miniplots the way some Robert Altman movies do."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"For all its artificiality, Playing by Heart percolates with an earnest charm."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"A very slight and inoffensive movie. It's a lot like L.A. itself, all surface, soothing and warm."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Nothing more than merely watchable film."
‑ Dragan Antulov, rec.arts.movies.reviews
"The lack of time gives the last reel a fakey, tied-up-with-a-bow feeling, but good performances and a good script make this an enjoyable little romance."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
"All of these characters are more interesting when things are going badly for them than when the tide has turned, and Carroll's determination to make the final reel an extended bout of audience tummy tickling is disappointingly conventional."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"[It's] n tune with the current trend toward movies that coddle the audience with reassuring sentiments."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"The brightest spot belongs to Angelina Jolie, who is so compelling to watch she has chemistry with the furniture."
‑ Ron Wells, Film Threat
"The dozen or so lead characters of Playing By Heart fear silence the way Biblical people feared locusts."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"An intriguing patchwork of relationships converges into a portrait of modern love in Playing By Heart, a wry, satisfying emotional saga."
‑ Margaret A. McGurk, Cincinnati Enquirer
More reviews for Playing by Heart on Rotten Tomatoes

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