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directed by Maura Anderson
USA 2017

 

When her girlfriend Nicole dies after four months in the hospital at the end of a long terminal illness, artist Lauren (Velinda Godfrey, THE TRUTH ABOUT ANGELS) comes home from the funeral - attended by people who were unsupportive of them in life - to an eviction notice and her boss under the impression that she had quit rather than taken leave. With nowhere else to go, Lauren returns home to her mother Crystal (Beth Grant, DONNIE DARKO) who welcomes her but still considers Nicole nothing more than Lauren's "very close friend." Lauren's brother Justin (Aaron Leddick, CREEK) also returns, but not so much for a visit as to launch the Heartland Winery in the area with his best friend (and Lauren's former boyfriend) Kenny (Cooper Rowe, GLEE) as a startup division of the winery business owned by the father of his fiancée Carrie (Laura Spencer, DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT). Carrie has a hard time adjusting to the life in the heartland amidst Crystal's devout circle and finds distraction with Lauren who Justin has engaged to design a label for the winery as a means of helping her cope even though the labels have already been created by a professional firm. With Justin constantly busy on the phone and called away on business, Carrie and Lauren spend more and more time together. As doubts creep into Carrie's relationship with Justin and Crystal's unwillingness to discuss Nicole and trying to push Lauren back into a relationship with Kenny leaving Lauren unable to confide in anyone else but Carrie, the two emotionally vulnerable women make a decision that could upend the family permanently and destroy their future happiness.

A lesbian romance that in which sexual identity is actually secondary to emotional honesty, HEARTLAND is an impressive debut from director Maura Anderson, star/co-writer Godfrey, and co-writer Todd Waring (who also appears in the film as a conservative preacher). The depth of the characters is conveyed with admirable simplicity, including those whose role would be merely functional in a more conventional take on the narrative to effect the throwing together of the two lovers. The three members of the triangle - brother, sister, and fiancée - are all fish out of water in this setting (even if two grew up in it), but Justin is better at concealing it as a salesman driven both by his ambitions and his plans for a future with Carrie (whose snobbishness does alienate her as much as Crystal's behavior which is either backhanded or obliviously insensitive), while Lauren finds others in the community patronizingly "forgiving" her for the difficulty she has caused her mother. Crystal is ultimately a bigot, but the film conveys that her intense loneliness since her husband's death years before is as much a cause for her unhappiness as her daughter's sexuality. "Some people can't be replaced, so why try," says Crystal, but that does not seem to be the path her daughter is on even if what she had with Carrie was born out of grief and the need for affection.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 27 January 2017 (Canada)

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DVD Review: Wolfe Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Wolfe Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:40:03
Video

2.38:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.58 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wolfe Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.38:1

Edition Details:
� Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:00)
� Previews

DVD Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments

Wolfe's dvd is barebones but sports a high bitrate progressive, anamorphic encode. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track makes conservative use of the surrounds which is suited to the setting (the characters are inside when the tornado hits late in the film so the rear channel activity is largely muffled during this sequence). SDH subtitles are available. The trailer and previews are the only extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Wolfe Video

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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