Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: An Affair of the Heart

This documentary about an imperishable pop icon of the 1980s, although not the deepest, is every bit as irresistibly likeable as its subject.

Oct 10, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364478-Affair_Heart_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

You hear that distinctive, nervously thrumming guitar intro, and already know you have no choice but to succumb to “Jessie’s Girl,” that cheesy ’80s song which also happens to be one of the most irresistible pop records ever made. The man responsible for it, Rick Springfield, is front and center in An Affair of the Heart, which answers the question: “Whatever happened to him?”

Actually, he’s been very much around, constantly performing and touring and the adored object of a fan base that could, without exaggeration, be described as obsessive. Sylvia Caminer’s film focuses on many of the Australian’s admirers, most of them female and white, with celeb cameos by similar former youth icons Linda Blair and Corey Feldman. There’s a woman who went through a debilitating illness as a girl who found solace and the will to live through his music, a teenager whose father’s love of Springfield inspired him to play himself (eventually winding up onstage with the star), and Kate Dennis, a minister from North Carolina who clucks over that raunchy rock ’n’ roll lifestyle while still lovin’ that man. And then there are the two suburban housewives who, on the average of once a month, pick up and leave their more than forbearing husbands and kids to go jaunting off to see Springfield, especially on his fan-centric “Rick and Friends” annual cruise.

“Arrested development” might be an accurate description of these two, as well as many others who first became conscious of Springfield when he was the 1980s’ ultimate pop star, having both hit records and a regular gig on the soap opera “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake. And then, essentially, there were his slim, male-model looks, which placed him in a direct, honorable line of non-threatening teen idols from Fabian to Davy Jones to Bobby Sherman to David Cassidy to the Bieb himself.

However, like Justin Bieber, Springfield is an able composer and musician and proves himself more than just a pretty face with some serious chops on display here. His other songs besides “Jessie’s Girl” are definitely more than decent. Now 61, he comes across as a generous performer and likeable, down-to-earth guy, who confesses to being “a dick” in his successful youth and now is fully cognizant of the importance of being nice to fans. One would have liked to learn more about those earlier years and especially about Barbara, his wife of some 30 years, who pops up late in the film, cheering him along with the worshipful. Indeed, her story would almost seem to be more interesting than his, having to put up with so much (and, yes, I am thinking about those desperate housewives). Another question that arises concerns the exact lyric of “Jessie’s Girl.” I’d always assumed that it was “I wanna tell her that I love her, but the point is probably moot,” but the lyrics shown onscreen have it as “mute.” Really?



Film Review: An Affair of the Heart

This documentary about an imperishable pop icon of the 1980s, although not the deepest, is every bit as irresistibly likeable as its subject.

Oct 10, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1364478-Affair_Heart_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

You hear that distinctive, nervously thrumming guitar intro, and already know you have no choice but to succumb to “Jessie’s Girl,” that cheesy ’80s song which also happens to be one of the most irresistible pop records ever made. The man responsible for it, Rick Springfield, is front and center in An Affair of the Heart, which answers the question: “Whatever happened to him?”

Actually, he’s been very much around, constantly performing and touring and the adored object of a fan base that could, without exaggeration, be described as obsessive. Sylvia Caminer’s film focuses on many of the Australian’s admirers, most of them female and white, with celeb cameos by similar former youth icons Linda Blair and Corey Feldman. There’s a woman who went through a debilitating illness as a girl who found solace and the will to live through his music, a teenager whose father’s love of Springfield inspired him to play himself (eventually winding up onstage with the star), and Kate Dennis, a minister from North Carolina who clucks over that raunchy rock ’n’ roll lifestyle while still lovin’ that man. And then there are the two suburban housewives who, on the average of once a month, pick up and leave their more than forbearing husbands and kids to go jaunting off to see Springfield, especially on his fan-centric “Rick and Friends” annual cruise.

“Arrested development” might be an accurate description of these two, as well as many others who first became conscious of Springfield when he was the 1980s’ ultimate pop star, having both hit records and a regular gig on the soap opera “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake. And then, essentially, there were his slim, male-model looks, which placed him in a direct, honorable line of non-threatening teen idols from Fabian to Davy Jones to Bobby Sherman to David Cassidy to the Bieb himself.

However, like Justin Bieber, Springfield is an able composer and musician and proves himself more than just a pretty face with some serious chops on display here. His other songs besides “Jessie’s Girl” are definitely more than decent. Now 61, he comes across as a generous performer and likeable, down-to-earth guy, who confesses to being “a dick” in his successful youth and now is fully cognizant of the importance of being nice to fans. One would have liked to learn more about those earlier years and especially about Barbara, his wife of some 30 years, who pops up late in the film, cheering him along with the worshipful. Indeed, her story would almost seem to be more interesting than his, having to put up with so much (and, yes, I am thinking about those desperate housewives). Another question that arises concerns the exact lyric of “Jessie’s Girl.” I’d always assumed that it was “I wanna tell her that I love her, but the point is probably moot,” but the lyrics shown onscreen have it as “mute.” Really?
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

E-Team
Film Review: E-Team

Four international human rights investigators descend on political atrocities to determine accountability. More »

Laggies
Film Review: Laggies

Disappointing comedic entry about a late-20s slacker who won’t grow up is writer/filmmaker Lynn Shelton’s first outing directing someone else’s material. Points here for strong cast and an occasional chuckle, but otherwise there’s just no point. More »

Rudderless
Film Review: Rudderless

Well-done indie drama about a lost-soul house painter reborn through rock ’n’ roll is a nice actor’s showcase for star Billy Crudup and an impressive directorial debut for actor William H. Macy. But in spite of some good work onscreen, both hero and story lack the edge and originality to carry this drama beyond respectability. More »

Camp X-Ray
Film Review: Camp X-Ray

Army guard and Guantanamo detainee form a grudging relationship in a thoughtful but far-fetched drama. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Birdman
Film Review: Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Virtuosic camerawork and a stellar ensemble of actors more than make up for the occasional moment of portentous twaddle in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's latest—and maybe his best—film. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here