This lovely, bittersweet movie knocked my socks off when I saw it back in the day, and the DVD offered me another opportunity to relive the romance. It's not the most well-made movie -- the fact that it got made at all, considering the costs to the independent film maker, is a miracle. But it is peopled with believable, sympathetic characters and it is, for the most part, beautifully acted. The soundtrack is fabulous, and the CD is long overdue. The cinematography artfully features the haunting southwestern landscape, contrasting it with the period-perfect seediness of 1950's Reno.
Desert Hearts is a lesbian love story, but also a story about the importance of many types of relationships between women: mother and daughter, friend and confidant. I've seen almost all the lesbian flicks that have been produced over the years, and very few of them have this one's staying power. It offers a deeply romantic and heartfelt view of lesbian love in the old-fashioned Hollywood mold, something we rarely see in the movies. The impeccable use of music is heard in the final scene, as Ella Fitzgerald croons "I Wished On The Moon." I can't imagine any person who has every loved or longed for love, whether they're gay, straight or in between, not being moved by the promise, longing and mystery expressed in that last scene.
Desert Hearts has wit, humor, pathos, a fascinating and unusual milieu, compelling leading ladies and delicious secondary roles, great music and scenery, and oh yes, some exceptionally erotic and realistic sex between two beautiful women.
What's not to like?