"After hearing this album, I don't want to see the movie. The music is dark, tense, and infused with a subdued violence. It may turn a bit redemptive at the end, but on the whole the mood is not relaxing. Which means it was probably perfect for its job, and makes fabulous background music when I'm sick of upbeat and need to get down to a piece of work with the same edgy shadows. Works on the Wagnerian concept of motifs, so that variants on the same "character ID" themes play throughout. Excellent for its special purposes, but not a "sit back with a drink" album."
"Dancer from the Dance"
David Saliba | San Jose, CA USA | 08/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The performances of Leigh and Coyote in this relatively obscure film are flawless and perfectly in synch with one another. Each plays off the other in such precision that the result is a hypnotic dance which begs the proverbial question, "how can you tell the dancer from the dance." The subject matter for most viewers is not literal enough to draw them in. But for those viewers interested in the mechanics of dreams and psychosis, the dark metaphors veiled by the surface plot ironically reveal a sentience very much like what Poe describes in "The Fall of the House of User." Even if the central "meaning" escapes you, the final scene is worth experiencing. The dance between the two main characters, played by Leigh and Coyote, is classic. If you're looking for "meaning," you'll find it in the expression on Leigh's face as Coyote whispers in her ear while the music plays on. I was so impressed by the performances of Leigh and Coyote that I dedicated my first novel to them."
Best Actress Performance of 1989
Only-A-Child | 11/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Really fanatical film buffs have long considered Jennifer Jason Leigh's performance in "Heart of Midnight" deserving of 1989's Best Actress Oscar. She was at least as good as runner-up Isabelle Adjani ("Camille Chaudel") and clearly superior to winner Jessica Tandy ("Driving Miss Daisy"). While ironic that Leigh's best performance was in her least seen film, it is understandable considering the subject matter and almost expressionistic style of "Heart of Midnight", which needs at least two viewings to be properly appreciated.
The film, which is better directed than it is written, should be seen simply for Leigh's performance but is also a stylish little horror film with a few genuinely scary moments. Leigh plays Carol Rivers and the story (which includes a number of flashbacks) is told from her point of view. Carol seems to have an innate distaste for physical contact and a history of psychological problems of unknown origin. It is slowly revealed in the film that she was abused as a child. Leigh researched the role extensively, speaking with women who had been abused as children and experts in the field.
"Heart of Midnight", an odd mix of "Repulsion", "The Tenant", "Exotica", and "The Story of Adele H"; is about Carol's descent into madness. It was probably inspired by the two Polanski films; and Catherine Deneuve's "Repulsion" character was also named Carol. The twist being that this time it is actually a voluntary descent into insanity. For most of the film Carol grapples with why she does not like herself. Once she discovers the reason for this, madness becomes preferable to existing with that knowledge.
Although Carol's conduct throughout the film seems bizarre, once you understand her background everything is logical. But it is only predictable in retrospect so many viewers will find the film uncomfortable viewing. Carol is often forced to retreat but admirably forces herself to confront her fears. Leigh has a real gift for communicating the depth of her character's fear and pain.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child."
I'll Take This "B" Movie Over A Coma Anyday
Angela J. Thorpe | Alamogordo, NM, USA | 09/18/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I've seen hundreds of Sci Fi/Horror movies over the years. This is one of those you'll wonder whether you've watched it or not a few years down the road. You just can't remember.
All in all, I figure it's still better to watch a so-so Sci Fi/Horror movie than "Dances With Wolves" or "Evita". This movie will end up being non-memorable, but it's preferable to being in a coma. "