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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars can't miss
This is a wonderful movie of two gorgeous women who make love and one drops her water onto the other while they're at it. I watch that part over and over. And I'm a girl.
Published on Feb. 2 2004

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3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Passionate
The storyline and characters are somewhat interesting, though not as interesting as the explosive lesbian love scene near the end of the film!
Both Helen Shaver & Patricia Charbonneau are beautiful, and the kissing between them is enough to make your heart stop! Don't miss it!
Published on Oct. 4 2003 by axpress


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars can't miss, Feb. 2 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
This is a wonderful movie of two gorgeous women who make love and one drops her water onto the other while they're at it. I watch that part over and over. And I'm a girl.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I Liked Jane Rule's Novel MUCH Better, But . . ., June 17 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
This film contains what may well be the most powerful & well-done love scene I have ever seen on film. If only everyone's "first time" with his or her lover could be this beautiful! Ah, well. Actors can rehearse, as Shaver & Charbonneau did, according to director Dietch. But ordinary real-life lovers have no such luxury . . .
My main problem with the film was its portrayal of Frances Packer. Don't get me wrong--Audra Lindley's performance is terrific (& such a pleasant surprise after only having seen her in __Three's Company__!). But Dietch & Cooper made Mrs. Packer out to be a venomously lonely & alcoholic homophobe. Rule's portrayal of her in the novel is much more sympathetic & broad-minded.
I believe at least one other reviewer made similar objections, but I just had to put my 2 cents in.
In the end, I applaud Ms. Dietch & everyone involved in Desert Hearts for working so hard to bring this groundbreaking film into being!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Goodness, July 14 2013
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This review is from: DESERT HEARTS: 2-DISC COLLECTOR'S EDITION (DVD)
Desert Hearts the movie is a close version of the book with some slight variation. The movie is as tasty as the book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars This One Started It All.., Jan. 21 2004
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
Before Ellen, kd lang, and Chastity Bono came out, there was this Lesbian genre classic, and classily done, I might add.
The storyline was unique to movies at the time it was filmed, but the story is not. Anyone who has been in love with a supposed "straight" person, knows how real this movie can seem. The flirtation, the backing away, the come-hither looks, and finally the conquest all will bring back good (and painful) memories. In my opinion, the lesbian love scene between the two female leads is still the best yet on film - it sizzles without being too graphic.
I'm giving it only 4 stars because the acting is a little stilted at times (mostly from the star Patricia Charbonneau and her former on-screen love interest Dean Butler). If you can overlook that, and see the movie for what it was (lesbian/gay history) and what it is today (a great love story), you will enjoy it. The clothes, music, sets, (and the hair-dos!) are great and correct for the period.
Sit back, enjoy, and make sure your girlfriend is watching with you!
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5.0 out of 5 stars an upbeat classic, Nov. 29 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
quite different from the fine novel upon which it is based, and yet good in its own right. sweet, witty, old fashioned. the acting is very fine, especially helen shaver, and the electricity between she and patricia charbonneau is amazing. this small film showcases one of the best uses of background music in any movie i've ever seen. there are no real bad guys here, either. it's just about the great joy and relief that two people feel when they manage, against great odds, to find each other.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Passionate, Oct. 4 2003
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
The storyline and characters are somewhat interesting, though not as interesting as the explosive lesbian love scene near the end of the film!
Both Helen Shaver & Patricia Charbonneau are beautiful, and the kissing between them is enough to make your heart stop! Don't miss it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not as magical as the book, Sept. 26 2003
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
The trouble is, this film is too close to Jane Rule's gorgeous novel to separate itself, yet it cannot hope to convey the magic and subtleties painted by Jane Rule whose characters are so well-defined; whose sense of timing and space is impeccable and who develops the tensions (slight and not-so-slight) between these women by way of their perceptions (of each other and their own situations). It is one of the tenderest love stories I have read and yet it is neither unduly emotional nor sentimental.
The scene by the lake (Chapter 5), for instance, where Evelyn (Vivian in the film) utters that she lives in a desert of the heart, can hardly have the same impact on film where we depend on a visual interpretation of events rather than a disclosure of her thoughts. It is where Evelyn realises she's losing a battle; her morality is about to be jolted. She clings to familiar things, the drive through the storm and so on, in the hope that the problem will go away while knowing that it won't. At the same time Ann (Cay in the film) has an instinct for knowing when not to press herself further while never quite withdrawing. The film does not capture these subtleties.
For all that, it is a beautiful, sensitive film in its own right, spoiled by an ending that might have been better if it followed the book. In almost the last line, far from Vivian (Evelyn) departing forever, she opts to stay "for an indefinite period of time". Until that moment one is on the edge of one's seat and somehow the film's almost certain "goodbye" comes as a cop-out; as if the women might have been infatuated; Vivian frightened of discovering this new aspect of her sexuality but surrendering to a daring experiment rather than being in love as the book conveys and realising at the last instant that goodbye isn't possible at that moment.
The sex scene is inconsequential by the way but tastefully done for those who like such cliches.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Still The One, June 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
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?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Opposites attract in this wonderful love story, May 22 2003
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This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
"Desert Hearts," directed by Donna Deitch, opens in Reno, Nevada in 1959. The film, which is based on a novel by Jane Rule, tells the story of Vivian (played by Helen Shaver), a prim-and-proper college professor who has come to Nevada to get a divorce. There she meets Cay (Patricia Charbonneau), a lusty, free-spirited casino worker. The relationship between these two beautiful women is the focus of the film.
"Desert Hearts" is a wonderful film. It's very erotic, tender, and moving. The women's story is complemented by excellent production values and effective use of period music. The performances are superb all around. The leads are backed by a great supporting cast; Audra Lindley is particularly good in a zesty, touching performance as Cay's stepmother. But it's the powerful chemistry between Shaver and Charbonneau which ultimately drives the film. Every scene between them is one to be savored.
The DVD version of the film includes a fascinating feature-length commentary track by director Deitch. She discusses the original novel, her own relationship with novelist Rule, the casting process, the music of the film, key scenes, and much more. Particularly fascinating is the window she offers into the financial realities of independent filmmaking.
"Desert Hearts" is about romantic love between two women. It's also about a mother-daughter relationship and about friendship between women. The beautiful scenes of the land and horses as well as the casino scenes give added appeal to the story of these interconnected relationships. I highly recommend this enjoyable and touching film.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cliche ridden, but worthwhile, May 5 2003
By 
Garry Messick (Boynton Beach, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Desert Hearts (Widescreen) (DVD)
Desert Hearts is a competent film, but its marred by stereotypical characters and a tendency toward melodrama. However, director Donna Deitch does a good job creating sexual tension between the two main characters. And the love scene is brilliant and achieves a genuine eroticism rarely seen in films. (Note the way the total absence of music heightens the sense of realism in this scene.)
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DESERT HEARTS: 2-DISC COLLECTOR'S EDITION
DESERT HEARTS: 2-DISC COLLECTOR'S EDITION by Donna Deitch (DVD - 2013)
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