Patty Hearst

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"Heiress. Victim. Terrorist."
  • R
  • 1988
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 6.3  (2,324)
  • 62

Patty Hearst is a biographical film based on the true-life story of Patricia Hearst. The movie was released in 1988 and directed by Paul Schrader. The movie stars Natasha Richardson in the lead role as Patty Hearst, William Forsythe as a revolutionary leader, Ving Rhames as a fellow captive, and Frances Fisher as Hearst's captor. The film tells the story of Patricia "Patty" Hearst, granddaughter of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. In February 1974, at the age of 19, Patty was kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California by a group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a left-wing revolutionary group. Over the course of the following two months, she was held captive in various locations, subjected to physical and psychological abuse in an attempt to force her to comply with the SLA's political agenda.

During her captivity, Patty began to identify with her captors and adopted their revolutionary ideology. The film portrays the Stockholm syndrome of Patty Hearst, which is a psychological condition in which a captive begins to sympathize with their captors. Throughout the film, Patty transforms from a terrified young girl to a willing participant in the SLA's criminal activities. She takes on a new name, Tania, and helps the group rob banks, hide out from the police, and spread their political message.

The film also explores the media's role in shaping the public's perception of Hearst's kidnapping and subsequent behavior. The media depicted Hearst as a spoiled heiress who had voluntarily joined the SLA, rather than a victim of abduction and trauma. This narrative fueled public outrage and led to Hearst's eventual arrest and trial.

Throughout the film, the tension builds between Patty's captors as well as between the SLA's leaders themselves. Eventually, the group's actions lead to a fatal shootout with the police, and Patty Hearst is apprehended. The film ends with a discussion of Patty's trial, in which she claimed to have been brainwashed by the SLA into participating in the robberies.

Patty Hearst is a gripping portrayal of one of the most high-profile cases of political kidnapping in American history. Richardson's performance as Hearst is powerful and nuanced, showing how the young heiress was both a victim and an agent of her own fate. The film's exploration of the Stockholm syndrome is both horrifying and fascinating, showing how even the most rational human beings can be manipulated and transformed by their captors.

The film is also notable for its commentary on the role of the media in shaping public opinion. The Symbionese Liberation Army's political manifesto was largely ignored by the media in favor of sensationalized stories about Patty Hearst's transformation from heiress to revolutionary. The film suggests that the media's obsession with Hearst's story and their willingness to villainize her obscured the true motivations and goals of the SLA.

Overall, Patty Hearst is a powerful biographical drama that captures a pivotal moment in American history. Its exploration of the Stockholm syndrome and the media's role in shaping public opinion is just as relevant today as it was when the events of the film took place over forty years ago.

Patty Hearst is a 1988 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 62.

Patty Hearst
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (2,324)
  • Metascore