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The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
Actors: Asia Argento, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Jimmy Bennett, Kara Kemp
Director: Asia Argento
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2006     1hr 37min

Seven-year-old Jeremiah lived a calm, comfortable life in the care of a loving foster home until the day his young mother Sarah (Argento) came to take him against his will into her reckless life of turmoil and depravity, ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Asia Argento, Dylan Sprouse, Cole Sprouse, Jimmy Bennett, Kara Kemp
Director: Asia Argento
Creators: Asia Argento, Al Hayes, Alain de la Mata, Ara Katz, Brian Young, Alessandro Magania, J.T. LeRoy
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Family Life
Studio: Palm Pictures (Home Entertainment)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 06/06/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2004
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2004
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 13
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Jeff V. (burielofmel) from HARRIMAN, TN
Reviewed on 5/17/2011...
This was a really good movie. A boy is taken away from the stable life he has been living with his grandparents to rejoin his drug-addict mother in her chaotic life. During the first part of the movie the mother looks and sounds like Courtney Love circa 1993-96. The kid gets taken by a religious fanatic relative and turned into a kid preacher but three years later his drugged-out mother gets him again and puts makeup and dresses on him so that he looks and acts like a girl. They live with a boyfriend played by Marilyn Manson.

Movie Reviews

Which is worse: Drug-addicted mom? Pedophiliac father? Abusi
Jessica Lux | Rosamond, CA | 06/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Note to consumers: The original release of this DVD contains an authoring error, resulting in an abrupt jump that bypasses the "explosion" scene (which can be seen in the previews). Palm Pictures has been very responsive to email requests for replacement versions of the DVD, and if you purchased a defective item, you should contact them via their web site.

J.T. Leroy's "true" life tale about a teenaged truck stop prostitute and her son was first told in a collection of short stories by the same name. The movie follows the early years of Jeremiah, a boy who experiences child rape, has gender confusion, lives as a scavenger, is brainwashed by evangelical Christians, and experiences a revolving door of his mother's boyfriends and tricks. The big screen version follows the written version closely; however, I highly recommend that viewers also pick up a copy of the book (and Leroy's earlier work Sarah) to answer any questions about the backstory, the red bird metaphor, the story of Sarah's own youth, the inner strength of Jeremiah, and more.

Director/Actor Asia Argento is brilliant, pure and simple. She portays child rape and the harrowing seduction of a grown man (Marilyn Manson) by a teenaged boy in drag with artistic genius. Viewers don't need to see the "monster" in full light, and their imagination of the rest of the scene is far more disturbing. As an actor, she portrays Sarah as a chameleon who shifts from a drop-dead looker to a trashy stripper to a drug-addicted junkie to a loving mother to a hateful creep in mere minutes (and then shifts back again). She is both drop-dead gorgeous and completely hideous. Three young actors portray Jeremiah as a stoic boy who grows up in this chaotic environment, and all of them are excellent.

Some reviewers find this movie depressing, and I couldn't disagree more. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This movie is what you make of it. Viewers can easily find a commentary of the child welfare system, insight into the results of a repressed childhood, social commentary on hypocrisy, and insight into the scarring effects of child abuse if they scratch beneath the surface. It's no pick-me-up, but this is in no way the most horrific film I've ever seen (try Baise Moi or Irreversible for that). It's also not an exploitation film by any means. It is brutally honest about events and situations which go on every day in America.

Is the story a hoax? Once again, the authenticity of the movie is open to interpretation. J.T. Leroy has been exposed as the pen name for a woman who was never a truck-stop prostitute, which recasts the short story collection as a work of fiction instead of non-fiction. Literary magazines and critics have engaged in a never-ending debate about the hoax (especially in the light of the James Frey controversy). The primary criticism is that the story loses its authenticity--how can the reader/viewer trust the insight to such sensitive topics if the author never experienced them? For a play-by-play of the backlash and controversy about Leroy's identity, refer to the Wikipedia article on the subject.

The Palm Pictures promotional web site has embraced the controversy in a fun way, which is how I encourage consumers to view it. Yes, the story is larger-than-life. On the other hand, it is far from the outrageous film every made. I truly believe that the statement made by the film is a strong one that is undiluted by the author's credibility with personal experience. (Hoaxes like Go Ask Alice, with its socio-political agenda, are far more dangerous than this story.)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Watch this movie with an open mind and look beneath the surface. Develop your own opinions about the news that the story is actually a work of fiction.
An Opportunity Lost
A. Hickman | Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria | 06/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Asia Argenta's "Heart" is from the grand guignol school of film making. She deserves credit for attempting to film J.T. LeRoy's cult novel, and her own performance, along with those of the boys who play Jeremiah, is indeed brave, but I am disappointed by the result. To begin with, the story arc of the novel is lost. We are simply thrust into Jeremiah's sick world without any sense of context. Given the fact that this "true" story is anything but, perhaps Argenta was right to leave out the frame story of teenage Jeremiah's penchant for S&M, but others of the stories are missing as well. That the focus has shifted from Jeremiah to Sarah is not so much an indictment of Argenta's own ego as it is a tribute to her failure to deal with some of the more unsavory aspects of the orginal story. Finally, the packaging of the DVD demands some comment. Apparently, a lot of celebrities and others who were duped by the LeRoy saga are now saying they were entertained by the hoax. So be it. But it's unconscionable of the producers to exploit that fact as a marketing ploy. To sum up, this is not a bad movie, but it represents an opportunity lost. A better movie might have moved JT or Speedy or whoever the author is a bit further down the road to redemption."
Edwin | Barranquilla, Atlantico - Colombia | 05/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"this movie is awesome, i see it last week and I think that Asia Argento knows perfectly how to show the reality, this movie is so impressive and the kids in the movie do a excellent work, Jimmy Bennet work is wonderful and the sprouse twins take the movie to a higher level. you should see it, but the movie is not recommended for kids because the movie is very realistic and very graphical, too much explicit"