Open Hearts

Rated NR

This 28th Dogme film shows both the strengths and weaknesses of the "vow of chastity" that Dogme filmmakers must take. In brief, for those who have missed this movement, Dogme certification is available to any filmmaker who adheres to 10 principles, including the exclusive use of handheld cameras, the rejection of all genre styles, the use only of available lighting and a ban on any added sound or music. Open Hearts gets the Dogme certification in spite of violating a number of the rules, as though, at this point, the Dogme certifiers had given up caring. What Open Hearts maintains from the Dogme formula is an emphasis on character and intense emotion. It tells the story of a woman whose fiancé is paralyzed in a car accident. Overcome with grief when he then rejects her, she begins an affair with the husband of the woman whose car crippled her fiancé. It’s a bit contrived, but the acting is strong and the script is potent. Sadly, Open Hearts runs out of steam in the final act, and it hews a bit too closely to a soap-opera romance plot. Still, it beats watching Sandra Bullock pretend that she’s pretending not to be in love with some schmuck who she’ll eventually fall in love with. And, best of all, it’s loaded with Danes.

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