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Movie Recommendation: Queen of Hearts

Simcha Fisher - published on 01/03/11

Since my dear husband finally fell victim to the dread plague, I watched a movie by myself last night, while holding a little blue t-shirt in my lap (to signify that I was about to start folding laundry any minute now).

Well, I didn’t get any laundry done, but I did rediscover a wonderful movie that you will love, as long as you’re not my husband.  Really, I don’t know what is wrong with him.  The movie is Queen of Hearts from 1989.

I thought of it because my friend Tiffany was talking about her annual January longing for all things Roman, which she has suffered ever since we spent a semester in Rome our sophomore year in college.  While this movie doesn’t take place in Rome, or even mostly in Italy, it might assuage a little of that ache, being chock full of golden light, a “bella machina” (a gleaming espresso machine with an eagle on top), a horrible old grandmother, and lots of Italian-eyed Italians speaking Italian without subtitles.  It’s mostly in English, but it’s told from the point of view of the little boy, who understands things in his own way — part nonsensical, part funny, part heartbreaking, part exactly the way they are, or ought to be.

It will also assuage your longing for a strange and entertaining story about love and friendship, death and family.  Oh boy, it’s hard to explain this movie without making it sound sappy and awful.  It’s not!  It’s funny, knives and guns are wielded, there is betrayal and cowardice, and everyone still loves each other in the end.  It seems to beavailable for sale only on VHS, but Netflix has it on Instant View.  It’s rated PG.  There are a few brief unsavory elements, but these will likely go over the heads of any innocent viewers.

Many, many memorable scenes and images in this movie, including some incredible interior scenes through the eyes of a dying man.  Excellent acting.  Just a moving, endearing, pleasurable movie all around.  Tiffany, I guarantee you’ll like this movie.  And the rest of you, too!

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