"Hearts of War" was originally titled "The Poet" [the European release], and is a Holocaust/WW II drama. The movie begins in 1939 as the Germans invade and occupy Poland. Rachel [Nina Dobrev] is a rabbi's daughter who gets lost in a snowstorm and is rescued by an undercover German officer, Oscar Koenig [Jonathan Scarfe]. The next morning, Rachel awakes to see the smitten Oscar and they both make love. This is the beginning of a series of plot implausibilities. Even if one were to take into account that both Rachel and Oscar genuinely fell in love, I think the story would have had more credibility if they had at least spent a bit more time getting to know each other. I mean, Rachel is an orthodox rabbi's daughter and betrothed to someone else! I do not think it was common for a girl of such upbringing to fling convention to the winds and have sex with a virtual, albeit handsome stranger.
That aside, the movie just does not flow well - there are a few different story arcs that run through the movie, but are not fused seamlessly. Rachel ends up getting separated from Oscar, finds herself pregnant, and later agrees to marry selfless Bernard, a Jewish young man who is hopelessly in love with Rachel. The pair have to navigate a treacherous and uncertain path and fight against the odds to stay alive. Oscar meanwhile, pines away for his love whilst under pressure from his peers and his domineering father to act like a 'good German soldier'. His heart just isn't in fighting, preferring to write 'deep' poems instead. There are some notable names in this movie that are totally wasted - Daryl Hannah plays Oscar's sympathetic mother, who hardly bats an eyelid when Oscar proclaims he loves a Jewish girl. Roy Scheider appears briefly as a rabbi who marries Rachel and Bernard.
The movie ultimately suffers from a lack of credibility - not just in the storyline such as the unconvincing romance but also in the action sequences which come off as lame and poorly executed. There's also a story arc later on in the movie where Rachel masquerades as Christina, a singer who sleeps with German officers to survive. I'm sorry, perhaps such stories did occur during the war, but at this point, I was beyond caring what happened to anyone in the movie.
I've watched many Holocaust dramas and there are some really stellar productions out there. "Hearts of War" isn't one of them. Here are some Holocaust dramas that I've found riveting and credibly done:
Fateless - a young boy's horrific Holocaust experience in the camps
Out of the Ashes - a doctor's experiences in Auschwitz return to haunt her after the war
The Devil's Arithmetic - based on a novel, this centers on a young Jewish girl (played by Kirsten Dunst) who goes back in time to the period of the Holocaust
Black Book - action-based Holocaust drama
Escape From Sobibor - centers on Russian POWs and Jewish prisoners escaping from the Sobibor camp during the Holocaust (based on true events)
Gloomy Sunday - tragic romance set during the Holocaust in Hungary
Sunshine - three generations of Jews from the same family and their experiences during the Holocaust
War and Remembrance: The Complete Epic Mini-Series - lengthy mini-series on WW II, with a compelling portrayal of the Holocaust that is harrowing to watch
Holocaust - mini-series on the experiences of members of a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Very graphic and truly tragic.
Amen - the Holocaust from the POV of a German chemist/Nazi officer and a Catholic priest