The Good Heart

The Good Heart (2009). Directed by Dagur Kári.

The Good Heart

Jacques (Brian Cox) is crusty old bartender/owner of a dingy bar in the bowels of New York City. After suffering his fifth heart attack, Jacques returns to the hospital where he meets a young homeless man named Lucas (Paul Dano), who is recovering from a failed suicide attempt. The two become friends and Jacques decides to groom Lucas to take over his bar.

Lucas is kind-hearted simpleton that is grateful for a second chance at life. He gets along great with Jacques but finds it difficult to follow all of his rules - no new customers, don’t befriend the customers and above all, no women in the bar. Lucas breaks all of the rules and takes in a young French woman (April) that is found wandering in the rain. Before long, Lucas marries April and all hell breaks loose.

The Good Heart is a decent film but I found it to be a tad pedestrian. None of the roles are particularly challenging for any of the actors involved and the plot is a little thin in places. There is little to no back-story to any of the characters which is frustrating at times. Things happen that seem absurd - Lucas and April get married on a whim and then Lucas kicks her out of the bar when she flirts with a customer.

Most of the action takes place in the bar which takes on a character of its own. The dim lighting and moldy walls provide the perfect setting for this story. There are several interesting characters at the bar and some of the dialogue is quite funny but it falls short of the mark for me. Apparently Brian Cox doesn’t view his own work in which case he isn’t missing much by not watching The Good Heart.


Films are rated from 1 to 4 stars.

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Posted in 2009 TIFF at 7:06 PM