Donna Deitch – Desert Hearts (1985)


It is 1950s Nevada, and Professor Vivian Bell arrives to get a divorce. She’s unsatisfied with her marriage, and feels out of place at the ranch she stays on, she finds herself increasingly drawn to Cay Rivers, an open and self-assured lesbian, and the ranchowner’s daughter. The emotions released by their developing intimacy, and Vivian’s insecurities about her feelings towards Cay, are played out against a backdrop of rocky landscapes and country and western songs.

Comments from IMDB
This is one of the first Hollywood movies to ever explore Lesbianism, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to shout it out? Vivian Bell, played by Helen Shaver, arrives into 1950’s Fresno for a quickie divorce, boarding with a friendly mom-like landlord and her employees of her ranch. The landlord also has a step-daughter, Cay, who Bell is curiously magnetted too, and vice versa. Soon, Vivian is surprised to find her falling for Cay’s advances and are soon lovers. But there is consequences to this, after all this is 1950’s Fresno we’re talking about here.

All the cast is great here, especially Patricia Charbonneau, who has quite a debut here, and Audra Linley, playing the landlady who I absolutely didn’t recognize. (She’s Mrs Roper on Three’s Company fer crying out loud!) Amazingly brisk and enjoyable, I haven’t seen a movie in a long time that I enjoyed without checking the time to see how much was left.

Language(s):English dual audio with commentary

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