Sunday, September 10, 2017

Outflix Sunday: Heartland

Posted By on Sun, Sep 10, 2017 at 3:34 PM

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Heartland offers a tweaked version of what should be, by now, a familiar trope: A prodigal daughter, her life in shambles, returns to her family home and must confront the problems she’s long repressed. The daughter in this case is Lauren (Velinda Godfrey), who, after losing her girlfriend to terminal illness, begins an affair with her older brother’s girlfriend, Carrie (Laura Spencer). Heartland is set in a small town in Oklahoma that seems improbably normal, an anachronism from a quieter century. Lauren’s mom, played by Beth Grant (who you might recognize from her role as a deranged nurse on The Mindy Project), is at the heart of the pathology — tolerant of Lauren’s homosexuality without being truly accepting. Lauren’s brother, meanwhile, is trapped in an unhappy relationship with his own ambition.

Despite moments of predictability, Heartland is well-acted and moves along at a good clip. The climactic fight scene is satisfyingly reminiscent of Rachel Getting Married or, even, the more sober moments of Bridesmaids. The movie’s conflict resolves comfortably where another film might have taken things in a darker, more Freudian, direction (sleeping with your brother’s girlfriend… well, there’s a lot there.) But Heartland is, at the end of the day, a feel-good movie, a stone's throw away from something that might appear on Lifetime, but steamier and gayer.

Heartland screens on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 3:30 PM as part of the Outflix Film Festival.

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