Not merely a description of corpulent character Pruitt Taylor Vince, the title refers to the leaden atmosphere hanging over a roadside café and its inhabitants. Writer-director James Mangold finds significance in the detai... more »ls of life, giving this touching story an authenticity that keeps us involved. Liv Tyler brings poignancy to the story as a college dropout who helps awaken the introverted and depressed Vince. Unfortunately, this fascinating character study is too often undermined by direction slow enough to be leaden. Happily, even the most stolid camera work cannot undermine the desires and insecurities of the main character, a man yearning for a full life but too afraid too take a chance. --Rochelle O'Gorman« less
"The title doesn't merely point to the size of the central character, but also to the entire atmosphere of the film. I had to watch this movie a few times to fully appreciate its subtleness, yet I was intrigued even upon my first viewing.
While the central plot revolves around the "heavy" character, the story seems to more so be about Liv Tyler's character and her coming of age in a none-too-friendly environment. While her character does at times seem a bit too contrived and archetypical, you do find yourself nonetheless interested in her fate. In the same vein, you want to know the history of the Debbie Harry character. I was apalled and intrigued at the same time by her performance as a ... waitress. Excellant casting there.
i really appreciate the fact that the film makers never tried to make you feel TOO sorry for the title character. he is gross and close to being a stalker... yet you "get" him and his motivation. you almost root for him, until... I don't want to give too much away, but by the end you are truly asking, "what the...?!". I can't know why this character would behave as he did, but I am guessing that is the point of the film. Or at least I'd like to think so.
Watch the movie... maybe a couple times. It is worth the time and quite possibly a spirited conversation with your fellow viewers afterwards."
Ian Watts | Charleston, SC USA | 01/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are really only a few movies that attempt to portray realistic characters going about everyday life in all its ecstasy and agony, and even fewer that succeed in being genuine. Heavy is one of them, and on that score it probably gets my vote for the best film depiction of what unrequited love actually feels like. The level of emotional intensity that James Mangold achieves is blistering, as in the scene where Victor retreats to the storeroom and breaks up after the death of his mother, or the ending where Liv Tyler confronts him in the restaurant after he's smashed several dishes. Unlike other "realistic" indie films that concern a mismatched pair (I'm thinking of Garden State or the overrated Lost in Translation), the relationship between Victor and Callie is entirely believable- so much so that at times the film is almost painful to watch. This is due to the fact that the characters themselves ring true, and for this everyone from Pruitt Taylor Vince to Liv Tyler and Shelly Winters should be commended for their spot-on performances. James Mangold also manages to inject a little hope at the end without resorting to Hollywood cliches. It's difficult to find this movie, but I would certainly say it's worth seeking it out. Parts of it will stay in the back of your mind for years, as has happened with me."
Poigant story that was well told
Margaux Paschke | New York | 11/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite some heavy handed camera work, this film shines. The acting by the lead character (Pruitt) was outstanding as was the other characters played by Liv Tyler, Deborah Harry and Shelly Winters. The story backdrop is a small nothing town and shows broken lives and failed chances. Enter Liv Tyler who appears in a bar applying for a job. Shelly Winters is the owner and mother of Pruitt - her overweight balding son with a roving eye but a good heart. The other waitress (Deborah Harry) is none too happy with the addition of a beautiful young woman. The resident drunk doesn't seem to care. Besides Liv Tyler's boyfriend, who we don't really see too much, this is it for characters and most of it takes place in the bar yet we barely notice as we are absorbed into the story that unfolds before us. Predictably, the son falls in love with the new waitress but he never takes a chance because he has already figured out how it would end. Yet the waitress' life isn't as golden as one would think. We see glimpses into each character's life and depressing doesn't begin to cover it. In spite of moments in each character's life that reflect a brillance, they are unable to see it for themselves. They are too caught up in the misery of their day-to-day existence and it would take too much effort to break free. At one point the son tries to change and we see hope for the first time burning in his eyes but it's built on lies and we see the consequences....... It's as if you give up on life, life pretty much passes you by and gives up on you - AND the results are there on screen serving as a warning. Either that or the filmmaker hates small towns and thinks you need to leave to get a better life. The whole mood of this movie is heavy but the sentiment and lush characterization made this movie worth it - repeat viewings even! A little gem of a movie which prompts me to look for later films by this director."
Rivkah Maccaby | Bloomington, IN United States | 11/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Something new under the sun: there's no formula to this picture. Each action and emotion logically follows the one before, instead of being contrived to fit into some form. This isn't hero-wants-girl, hero-loses-weight, hero-gets-girl, or the opposite, where the hero displays the fatal flaw which will hold him back all his life.If you are used to the Hollywood formula, you won't know what's going to happen next, though by intuition, you will figure it out eventually, because these are real people; you know people like these-- unless you've lived in Levittown all your life, in which case you should see this film because you need the education.Brilliant performances all around. I bought this video because I'm a Deborah Harry fan, and here she proves her natural acting skills once again. She is so good, it's difficult to remember that in her career, she has not been primarily an actress. Shelley Winters is great. Everyone is wonderful. The lead actor has very few lines, because he is a loner, but he is so good, he communicates without having to speak.The film is slow-paced, but not plodding. I didn't notice time pass as I watched it. The beat is steady, and I was caught up in its rhythm. I couldn't stop watching, not to eat or let the dog out. This is a beautiful film."
Stunningly beautiful movie
Robert Carlson | Santa Monica, CA USA | 08/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is terrific movie to own. It's practically a masterpiece of subtle and uspoken communication. Liv Tyler is luminously beautiful and Pruitt Taylor Vince is heartbreakingly great in a part that is so non-verbal that it's practically a silent film role. The movie proves that a film can be sweet without being cloying. The photography and music are perfect. Director James Mangold seems to have lost his way with his recent films, but this one is a gem."