Random Hearts

Directed by Sydney Pollack
Starring: Harrison Ford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Charles S. Dutton.
MPAA Rating: R for brief violence, sexuality and language.

Review by Matt Heffernan
October 8, 1999

In my review for Eyes Wide Shut, I said that Sydney Pollack could have probably made a much better film about sexual indiscretion. Well, now he did... sort of. It's not much better, and it's not entirely about anything.

In Washington, D.C., internal affairs officer Dutch Van Den Broek is busy dealing with a case while his wife takes a flight to Miami. When the news reports that a plane bound for Miami has crashed into the Chesapeake Bay, Dutch goes to Saks, where his wife works, to find out which flight she was on. He finds out that the trip was not for business, like she told him. His wife was actually taking a trip with the husband of congresswoman Kay Chandler (Kristen Scott Thomas). They booked their flight as Mr. and Mrs. Chandler, but the airline quickly found out that the real Mrs. Chandler was still alive.

Always a typical cop, Dutch becomes obsessed with finding out the truth behind his late wife's affair. He finds Kay, and tries to enlist her help. She refuses at first, but eventually follows him to Miami, where they trace their spouses' steps. They check out their room, the local clubs, bada-bing, bada-boom, you know how it ends up.

The ads for Random Hearts play up the romance that develops between Dutch and Kay, but that doesn't really come up until the third act. Unfortunately, most of the film shows Dutch snooping around for clues, but what does he hope to find? Kay and the other characters do question this endeavor, but we still must bear witness to it. In the end, it's all pointless, but you know that going into the film. Instead of a decent love story, as promised, we get a tedious wild goose chase.

This film also suffers from the same problem as For Love of the Game. That film could have been cut down to a great baseball movie, but they had to throw in an unnecessary and sappy romantic comedy. Here, we have a subplot about an internal affairs case which is much more interesting than the main action. A third plot thread exists with Kay's re-election campaign. Each of the subplots have some interesting characters and situations, but they are never developed properly. So now, the whole film is unsatisfying, and ultimately a forgettable work for Pollack and Ford.

As Pollack's presence distracted me in Eyes Wide Shut, so did Dylan Baker's in this film. I still can only think of him as the pedophile in Happiness. That's a two-fold distraction: Happiness was a much better film, and he still creeps me out.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Random Hearts (1999)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
Random Hearts (1999) -- VHS
Random Hearts (1999) -- DVD
Random Hearts, a novel by Warren Adler -- Paperback
Random Hearts: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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Review © 1999 Matt Heffernan