Desert Hearts

Watch Desert Hearts

  • R
  • 1985
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 7.1  (7,287)
  • 67

Desert Hearts is a romantic drama movie from 1985. It is directed by Donna Deitch and based on a novel called Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule. The movie is set in the 1950s and follows the story of a young English professor named Vivian Bell (played by Helen Shaver), who travels to Reno, Nevada to obtain a quick divorce. Vivian is a reserved and serious woman who is only interested in her work and has little experience with love or intimacy.

Once in Reno, Vivian stays at a ranch guesthouse where she meets a free-spirited artist named Cay Rivvers (played by Patricia Charbonneau). Cay is a fun-loving and confident young woman who is gay and openly flirtatious. Vivian is initially put off by Cay's advances, but soon the two women develop a deep connection and a passionate romance blossoms between them.

The central conflict of the movie is the tension between the reserved, cautious Vivian and the fun-loving, impulsive Cay. Vivian struggles to come to terms with her feelings for Cay and the possibility of starting a new life with her. Part of her is scared of the consequences of breaking social norms and risking her reputation, while another part of her longs for the freedom and passion that Cay represents.

Throughout the movie, we see the two women interact in various ways. They go on adventures together, spend nights dancing and exploring Reno's nightlife, and make love several times. The scenes between Helen and Patricia are full of heart and depth, as we see the characters slowly breaking down their defenses and opening up to each other.

Aside from its portrayal of a lesbian romance, the movie also explores themes of personal growth, self-discovery, and social norms. Vivian is a character who is initially defined by her profession and her adherence to social conventions. Cay, on the other hand, represents a youthful spirit of rebellion and non-conformity. Together, the two women must confront their pasts and embrace their true desires in order to find happiness and fulfillment.

One interesting aspect of the movie is its location and setting. Reno, Nevada in the 1950s is depicted as a hot and dusty desert town, filled with casinos, motels, and barrooms. The movie captures the atmosphere and energy of the time period and location quite well, providing a realistic and immersive backdrop for the central romance.

Overall, Desert Hearts is a beautiful and groundbreaking movie that paved the way for future lesbian-themed films. It is a moving and authentic portrayal of love and self-discovery that manages to be both tender and passionate. The chemistry between the two lead actresses is undeniable, and the direction and writing are top-notch. The movie is a must-see for anyone interested in LGBTQ cinema, romance, or well-crafted drama.

Desert Hearts is a 1985 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 67.

Desert Hearts
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (7,287)
  • Metascore