'Dutch' Van Den Broeck (Harrison Ford) of Washington Police Internal Affairs, is devoted
to his wife, Peyton (Susanna Thompson). Kay Chandler (Kristin Scott Thomas) a New
Hampshire Congresswoman running for re-election, is devoted to her husband Cullen (Peter
Coyote) and their daughter Jessica (Kate Mara). Their busy lives are gatecrashed when a
plane on the way to Miami plunges into the ocean, killing all passengers - including the
couple in 3A and B, traveling on Mr and Mrs tickets. As the real identity of this couple
is revealed, the trust on which the two marriages have been based dissolves. Dutch and Kay
are thrown together in a tramuatic moment of their lives and grapple with the consequences
of their loss in a unique way.
Review by Louise Keller: "Powerfully dramatic and richly complex, Random Hearts is a gripping thriller of
the heart, where the action lies in the crevices of our emotions. Sydney Pollack's
masterful romantic drama is filled with the dynamics of suspense, anticipation and
passion, as we journey on life's rocky highway, surrounded by betrayal, truth and the
unexpected. Pollack's intelligence and sensitivity is showcased in this beautifully
written and realised questioning of reality. When a crucial strand on the emotional cobweb
on which we exist snaps, we teeter on the edge, waiting for the domino effect.
This is a
magnificent film for grown ups – a satisfying exploration of the human condition when
we are most vulnerable. Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas are extraordinary, their
performances outstanding. Ford displays a depth of complexity never seen before on screen;
Dutch is the policeman who seeks out lies for a living, yet fails to see the biggest lie
of all. Scott Thomas' Kay lives on the platform of politics – one where lying is
commonplace and turning a blind eye is mandatory. The collision of contrasting ways of
dealing with the truth and reality is achingly real, the development of the relationship
riveting human drama.
Tension and anticipation is created by the fact that we are privy to
information that the characters have yet to discover. The burden is almost overwhelming.
We agonise and empathise in a search for the impossible.
Random Hearts is a project from
the best of the best. The melancholy of the muted jazz trumpet reflects the mood, the
effective editing adds pace to a visually splendid work. Delving beyond the gloss and
peeling away life's superficialities, Random Heart is generously engrossing, emotionally
fulfilling. My kind of film.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Served by a superb, sensitive but robust jazz score by Grusin, Random Hearts is a
film for grown ups, filled with familiar pain and joy, set in the rugged, challenging
terrain of the human heart - with unexpected elements. Unraveling with controlled pace,
the story is engaging and accessible, a pain studded narrative of discovery for the two
spouses - each responding differently to their loss.
It's not a love story, but it's not
an action film, either; it's a subtle study of human drama and Pollack's intelligence
guides the story as well as the performances. Scott Thomas is vulnerable and strong as
expected, but Ford's is a richer, deeper character than he is usually required to build.
As Pollack points out in our INTERVIEW, it's unexpected casting, and his character's
reaction to the loss of his wife is how most writers would create the female lead
But don't mistake that for a wimp; far from it. The camera and lighting work to
bring us close or set up context in a variety of shots that elegantly defy any overt
'style' but offer us substance. Those elements and the quality of the screenplay -
economical, eloquent, but without pretension - combine to give us the satisfaction that
all good story telling is meant to do. While holding our attention, Random Hearts also
touches us with its sincere humanity; there's no schmalz (certainly no schmaltzy ending)
and no false sentimentality. See it now on the big screen, and when it comes out on DVD,