One From the Heart review – ambitious Coppola romance with charm and goofy innocence

Estimated read time 3 min read

In reality, the idea originated from the mind more than anything else: a film that was conceived by Francis Coppola’s smart and calculated decision to produce and oversee a classic Hollywood romantic drama from his own studio, Zoetrope. The outcome was a grandiose production that was incredibly ambitious, possibly even overly so. Yet, it also has a strangely intimate and limited feel, focused primarily on one romantic relationship – definitely a decrease in scale compared to the vast scope of Apocalypse Now or The Godfather.

After being re-released 40 years later, One From the Heart now includes six additional minutes. While it may not be one of Coppola’s main works, it is a sweet and whimsical romantic film with a charming and sometimes silly innocence. At one moment, the protagonist climbs a neon structure (a common sight in 80s Hollywood) and is shocked, causing his hair to stand up like a character from a comic book.

The setting is a romanticized version of Las Vegas, with a couple living together in a small house near the Strip. The couple, Hank (played by Frederic Forrest) and Frannie (played by Teri Garr), are preparing to celebrate their anniversary on the 4th of July. However, tension arises and they begin to argue. Frannie is slim and fit, while Hank has let himself go. She reveals her disappointment that he hasn’t changed or matured since they started dating, and he is no longer the nice person she thought he was. As their relationship becomes stagnant, they both confess to almost-cheating. Frannie storms out and has a fling with Ray (played by Raul Julia), a wannabe lounge singer who wants to take her to Bora Bora. Meanwhile, Hank meets Leila (played by Nastassja Kinski), a glamorous circus performer with impressive skills.

The movie has a similar feel to a Hollywood fantasy film from the past, with many enjoyable aspects, particularly the genuine vulnerability and grace of Garr, who is a talented and effortless dancer, even when not actually dancing. The extramarital relationships between Hank and Frannie are not portrayed as harmless flings; it is evident that they have physical intimacy with others, but the emotional pull that will ultimately reunite them is also apparent.

Whether it’s in present times or in 1982, one may question why the two other individuals do not seem like a bad option. Why not join Ray in Bora Bora? Why not stay with the enchanting Leila? Why is there a persistent desire to return to one’s home? Despite the fact that Hank and Frannie are meant to be deeply in love, these detours from the true path of love are intended to be educational experiences. However, I couldn’t help but feel disloyal to the film’s overall message, suspecting that Hank and Frannie will soon resume their arguments after the movie ends. I was rooting for both of them to make it work with Leila and Ray, to create some magic. After all, life is short. Nevertheless, there is a delicate sweetness present throughout.


You May Also Like

More From Author