An ex-con wants to be free of responsibilities & family entanglements but his own young son has some plans of his own. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 02/18/2003 Starring: Jeff Bridges Lucinda Jenney Run tim... more »e: 114 minutes Rating: R« less
"Having previously bought the Artisan release of "Mountains of the Moon", I was hoping that this labeling was faulty just as the labeling had been on that disc. Both DVD's were labeled as standard versions. Whereas "Mountains of the Moon" was, in reality, a widescreen presentation, "American Heart" is sadly fullscreen, just as the packaging indicates. Why do companies, such as Artisan, insist on releasing movies in fullscreen?! Like many other viewers, I abhor pan and scan."
A father & son "buddy" movie -- on the sad streets
S. Lyons | Pleasantville, USA | 03/25/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Veteran underrated actor Jeff Bridges is complete- ly believeable as a freshly released convict back on the streets of Seattle. His estranged son, young teen actor Edward Furlong (Terminator II), attaches himself, searching for a crumb of family he never had. Streetwise and antisocial, the dad dreams of a new life in Alaska, taking his son with him through the dream. Yet the harsh despair of the streets, poverty, and society's underbelly tug against the two, struggling to have a life and learn who each other is. A perfect study on the barriers which society and economics put before an ex-offender in American society. Recommended for its raw authenticity and acting, not for warm fuzzies."
Martin Bell's American Heart
Charles Tatum | 01/19/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film has an excellent cast rising above some lackluster material you have seen before in other "angry ex-con" driven stories. Jack (Jeff Bridges) is a recently released convict who tries to dump his fifteen year old son Nick (Edward Furlong) in the very first scene. Jack heads to Seattle, with Nick following, in order to set up a new life without the bothers of fatherhood. Jack meets with his old partner in crime Rainey (Don Harvey), who pays Jack a little money. Jack gets a job washing windows on high rise buildings, and settles into a small apartment. And then there is Nick. He has left Jack's sister's farm to live with him. He skips out on registering for school, and hangs around some homeless street kids downtown. Jack is boozing his way through Seattle, meeting up with Charlotte, who used to write him by way of a personals magazine called "American Heart." Nick gets a job delivering newspapers, and Nick and Jack share their little apartment, upstairs from a topless dancer and her troubled teen daughter Molly (Tracey Kapisky). The film then meanders through scenes of Jack and Nick arguing, then grudgingly making up, trying to develop some sort of normal relationship. Rainey cannot get Jack to come back to crime, but he does eventually get Nick to serve as a lookout for a job. Jack is saving for an impossible dream of moving to Alaska, and Nick wants to help. Nick and Molly grow closer, and Nick shoplifts a pair of shoes for her. Jack discovers the merchandise, along with some weed. Rainey robs Jack, who is also evicted and fired from his job. Eventually, the cast begins spiraling downward, as Nick gets involved in a burglary for Rainey that goes horribly wrong, and Molly begins taking after her mother. Jack and Nick decide to leave Seattle, but Jack needs to take care of one more thing first... Martin Bell was responsible for "Streetwise," the gritty documentary about homeless street kids that is among the greatest documentaries ever produced. He used this experience with this fictional film, but I found this screenplay often resorted to Hollywood convention. The ex-con trying to make it on the outside has been done, but maybe not this well acted before. I wish Jeff Bridges would just win an Oscar. His performance here is wonderful. He is flawed, and his behavior is innate. He does not want a relationship with Nick, and makes that all too obvious without resorting to stereotypical behavior. Bridges even has a light moment, when Jack's parole officer Normandy (Melvyn Hayward) is banging on the apartment door, and a hungover Jack finds underage Molly fast asleep at the foot of his bed. Furlong, who I have never liked in anything, gives his best performance here, too. I noticed his scenes where he plays opposite adults are more effective than when he is dealing with his teenage contemporaries. He is sympathetic without being saintly or cutesy. Jack and Nick's argument in the apartment, where Nick smashes a treasured ukulele, is strong stuff. Lucinda Jenney as Charlotte is also good, although Bell unwisely drops her character from the last part of the film after we have become so involved with her. While Don Harvey as Rainey is okay, there is a mentor relationship with Jack that is never fully explored. He looks Furlong's age, someone with a harder edge may have made more of an impact. "American Heart" is a decent film that should be sought out for the acting. Jeff Bridges deserves all the praise he has ever received, and this film should have given him more than he got."
Probably Jeff Bridges, Edward Furlong's best film
Drake-by-the-Lake | State of Euphoria | 03/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am suprised how many have not seen American Heart, but for some reason this movie was fated to be a sleeper gem waiting to be discovered by the fortunate few. Good performances all around, a sensible script, and most importantly not too much syrup, unlike a lot of other family dramas that lay it on a bit too thick. If you like realism and want a film that explores the plot described above, then this is an excellent choice.
Furlong's characters exhibit reserve, introversion, and recklessness. Part of his character, not to say charm, is a mysterious dark side which may have a basis in reality, if media reports are to be believed."
A fantastic indie
Drake-by-the-Lake | 03/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My favorite actor is Edward Furlong (not just in this movie but in all of his movies) and this is in my opinion his best. This movie fortunately was an indipendant film and was not a hollywood movie (Hollywood messes a lot of things up with popularity) All of the actors are great the script is really good and the end is good and sad (the whole movie is very dramatic which is the thing i like about it besides the actors , furlong being number one) this movie has irony as well (you'll know when you see it) and massive realistic drama. if you like dramatic movies that arent shrouded in popularity and is filled with awesome actors, a sad ending and plus a good backround soundtrack, this is a perfect movie. (you'll be very suprised on how many kid stars there are and how good of actors they are.) plus it's made in Seattle and theres a good amount of punk rockers in it (suprisingly theres not too much grunge since it was made when grunge was mainstream0 ENJOY IT AS MUCH AS I DID"