Upper crust England before, during, and after WWII provides the backdrop for THE HEART OF ME, a richly emotional drama about the seductive -- and destructive -- nature of passion. A classic romantic triangle, the film stars Helena Bonham… More Upper crust England before, during, and after WWII provides the backdrop for THE HEART OF ME, a richly emotional drama about the seductive -- and destructive -- nature of passion. A classic romantic triangle, the film stars Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams as sisters Dinah and Madeleine, and Paul Bettany as Rickie, Madeleine's husband, who finds himself drawn to his darkly beautiful, bohemian sister-in-law. Torn between two women, one who always plays by the rules and one who always breaks them, Rickie risks everything by falling into a clandestine affair with Dinah. What follows is more than a decade of deception, betrayal, and manipulation during which Rickie's carefully constructed world falls apart and he is all but destroyed by love. Over the years, the two sisters wage a fierce battle for his heart that exposes their vast differences as well as their surprising bonds.A sumptuously mounted vision of an all-but-vanished world, in which appearances and propriety govern every relationship, THE HEART OF ME is based on the 1953 best-seller, "The Echoing Grove," by noted novelist Rosamond Lehmann (and loosely based on her illicit affair with Poet Laureate, C. Day Lewis). Intricately structured as a progression of post-war flashbacks that gradually reveal a host of personal and societal conflicts, the film brings an unusual degree of sexual candor and dark psychology to a time and place normally thought of as "polite." The powerful performances of Bettany ("A Beautiful Mind", "A Knight's Tale") and Williams ("The Sixth Sense", "Rushmore") establish them as full-fledged romantic leads and, in her strongest role since her Oscar-nominated turn in "The Wings of the Dove," Bonham Carter once again shows she is unequalled in giving a modern face to period characters struggling with the boundaries of convention. -- © ThinkFilm
Consensus: This movie about passion and betrayal finds itself severely lacking in the former.