American Heart ~ (USA, 1992) ~ DVD

American Heart has it. Heart that is. And it wears it on its sleeve. Petty hustler-thief Jack (Jeff Bridges) is being paroled with a little less than a year left on his sentence. Guilty as charged, though he also took the fall for his partner. But Jack is determined to leave that life behind. His young son Nick (Edward Furlong), who has been staying with relatives, shows up in his life. At first, Jack wants no part of him, at least for the time being, though one suspects that the right time would never come.

Jack and Nick slowly form a bond as their relationship grows. In the beginning they have no relationship, but they know they should. Jack, haunted by the knowledge of how he’s lived his life, and the lack of a relationship with his father, does have some wisdom to pass along, if mostly of the don’t make my mistakes variety. The movie excels in showing that growth, though it’s by no means a smooth path. Placed in the hardscrabble sections of Seattle, Jack convinces Nick that their salvation lies just a ferry ride away – in Alaska. They make this their common goal. Many obstacles and temptations are put in their path. Ultimately it may be too late for Jack to make it to the promised land, but there’s the slim hope that his son can break the pattern and change up his life.

Fine performance by Jeff Bridges, reminding us that, when he has the right role (The Big Lebowski), he can be very, very good. Furlong, on the other hand has range of bad to mediocre.

♦♦♦½

This movie came recommended to me by Kat Warren. You can follow Kat’s ever so excellent book recommendations on Twitter  http://twitter.com/FinestKindBks

 

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