Joe Neumaier
August 24, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Playing by Heart

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
120 minutes
Wide Release Date
01/22/99
performer
Gillian Anderson, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Connery, Anthony Edwards, Angelina Jolie, Jay Mohr, Ryan Phillippe, Dennis Quaid, Gena Rowlands, Jon Stewart, Madeleine Stowe
director
Willard Carroll
distributor
Miramax
author
Willard Carroll
genre
Comedy, Romance, Drama

We gave it a C-

Playing by Heart, a dramedy about lovelorn couples, plays like a short-attention-span ”Hannah and Her Sisters.” As in Woody Allen’s masterpiece, three sisters link multiple stories, but this film switches between couples after every scene — resulting in narrative whiplash. Sean Connery and Gena Rowlands fare the best as parents grappling with a long-forgotten indiscretion; Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillippe find romance in clubland; Gillian Anderson and Jon Stewart tiptoe toward love. Yet with relationship patter that sounds like acting-class exercises, almost none of these stories feel true.

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