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Parents' Guide to

Wild at Heart

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Strong violence, sex, language in David Lynch film noir.

Movie R 1990 125 minutes
Wild at Heart Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 18+

A road trip that takes a lot of twists and turns

The leads know what type of film they are in and they execute it well. They are pitch perfect. Dern and Cage are believable in their surrealness. Ladd just blows her character out of the water. She plays to the camera with precision and laser focus, she is a pleasure to watch go the distance. The story seems to lose its way right around the time Dafoe shows up which is a shame since his portrayal is very strong, but after him I am not quite sure what is supposed to happen except that the loss of his narrative strength is felt in the film and I don't think it ever really recovers. Oh and hats off to Glover for making something out of nothing!
age 15+
Probably his worst film. The first hour is mostly just sex, which gets really repetitive and boring after a bit. The movie picks up with some intense sequences towards the end but up until then, it’s pretty dull. The sex is aplenty though not graphic, and the violence is minimal for the most part - briefly bloody when it happens, however. It’s only worth watching if you like David Lynch, otherwise, eh, skip it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

David Lynch's adaptation of Barry Gifford's novel contains much of his trademark powerful, nightmarish imagery, even if it also appears that he might have been grasping at straws at times. At its core, Wild at Heart is a pretty simple, very good lovers-on-the-run film noir; Sailor and Lula are super-cool yet sympathetic characters whose love is never in doubt. In their scenes together, they seem to truly appreciate each other's nuances and to respect one another. Even if they have been the victims of bad luck and made some bad choices, they are worth rooting for, and Cage and Dern are terrific in their roles (especially Dern, whose physicality in this movie is striking).

Yet Lynch seems to have let his artistic id take over a bit too often, obsessing on both The Wizard of Oz and Elvis Presley, and trying to shoehorn references into the movie whenever possible -- whether they fit or not. Lynch also includes some moments of plain weirdness, such as a man talking with a high-pitched voice and another man (Jack Nance, of Eraserhead) speaking in odd riddles, which only calls attention to itself. But for the majority of the movie, Lynch's touch works, and provides a strange, entertaining ride. Incidentally, Lynch's groundbreaking TV series Twin Peaks debuted later this same year, and many of that show's actors can be seen in small parts here.

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