Desert Hearts
Desert Hearts (1986)

Based on Jane Rule's novel Desert of the Heart (1964), Donna Deitch's narrative feature debut centers on a burgeoning lesbian romance between libertine casino worker Cay Rivvers (Patricia Charbonneau) and repressed university… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: March 7, 1986
DVD Release Date: January 23, 2001
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Critic Score: 91% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Paul Attanasio
Washington Post

... this is an astonishingly polished and nuanced first film. It deserves to be celebrated, not quibbled with.

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Sean P. Means
Salt Lake Tribune

Desert Hearts was an important, and beautiful, first step toward a movie world where LGBTQ couples were allowed unapologetically to be themselves.

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Emanuel Levy

Despite many shortcomings--narrow focus, stiff dialogue, and lack of humor--it's worth seeing for historical reasons: this movie herladed a new wave of American gay and lesbian independent films.

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Gene Siskel
Chicago Tribune

The story is not sensationalistic, although its love scene could not be more emotional. It`s a gentle story of someone being brought in from the cold.

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Clayton Dillard
Slant Magazine

It advocates risk and consciousness in tandem as the only means to overcome the cold, repressive hand of so-called normative thought.

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Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spirituality and Practice

A smooth and sensitive film that convincingly circles around the many different kinds of love and lets in light from several angles.

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Armond White
Out Magazine

In Desert Hearts, [Donna] Deitch takes lesbian cinema back to its future.

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Glenn Dunks
Film Experience

Desert Hearts wasn't the first, but it's certainly one of the most significant and an important forebearer to Todd Haynes and Phyllis Nagy's sublime Carol.

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More reviews for Desert Hearts

Flixster Audience Score: 75% Flixster User Reviews
Randy Tippy
The story of an unexpected, atypical lesbian romance set in 1950's Reno, Nevada. If you're willing to overlook the low production quality and a few… More
Anastasia Bartzoulianou
One of the most sensitive stories for what it feels like to be a woman who loves women, "Desert Hearts" made quite a difference when it was released.… More