Picks and Pans Review: Random Hearts
New Hampshire's Republican congresswoman, up for reelection, loses her husband in a watery plane crash that leaves no survivors. Her ratings take a pronounced spike upward. No surprise there, eh, Dick Morris? Then a gruff and dogged Washington, D.C., cop informs the congress-woman that her husband went to his grave strapped in next to a mistress—who happens to have been the cop's wife. The congresswoman falls in love with the handsome police sergeant but, afraid of hurting her campaign, says nothing of these new developments to her adviser. Bad move, wouldn't you say, Sam and Cokie? All the congresswoman need do is study Hillary Clinton's play-book: The closer Mrs. Clinton has come to resembling a character out of popular romance—a woman wronged by her man but willing to keep him, even fight for him—the rosier have her political prospects grown. In this electoral climate, the congresswoman, a victim of love dating a victim of love, could shoot for the White House.
Even though Random Hearts is the work of Sydney Pollack, the director of such emotionally ripe superstar pairings as The Way We Were (Streisand and Redford) and Out of Africa (Streep and, again, Redford), he doesn't produce any magic with Kristin Scott Thomas and Harrison Ford. To begin with, they are brought together much too slowly. I would guess I counted 48 or 49 spin cycles before the lovers got to their first clinch, a clumsy, frantic groping in a parked car. It's a wonder they don't end up accidentally kissing each other's headrests. The embraces soften during a retreat in the woods, but the heat the two stars generate wouldn't alarm Smokey Bear.
Ford projects his usual majestic grumpiness. He is a Mount Rush-more head with the great good luck to have found a body strong enough to support it. Scott Thomas (The English Patient) is physically exquisite, as delicate as an orchid, but here seems wilted. She needs to be moved closer to the light and given some plant food. (R)
Bottom Line: A vote of no confidence