Director: Dagur Kári

Country: Iceland, France

Year: 2009

The Good Heart is an Icelandic-French independent film, written and directed by Icelandic director Dagur Kari. The premise of the film is not new and has been done so many times. What I was looking for in this film was the independent film touch that could make this film worth watching and would make it stand against well made similar movies.

The idea of the film is based on the bitter and short tempered bartender Jacques who, after having a heart attack, meets Lucas, a homeless young man who tried to commit suicide, and starts to bond with him and then takes him under his wing. Jacques want to train Lucas and mold him in his own way to make him take over his business after he dies but the driving part of the plot is that even though Jacques is trying to help Lucas he is still the same bitter man he used to be. Lucas wants to help Jacques change to the better but the two mentalities don’t mesh together easily.

The film is full with clichés that you would expect from such a film, especially with the ending. I had a few problems with the film. First, I felt half way through, the film lost its identity for a while not knowing if it was a dark-comedy or a just a gloomy drama, which I thing is more fitting than the former for this particular film. The film at the end goes back to its original gloomy mood which as I said is more fitting and helped me to enjoy the film more.

My other problem was with the two main characters. I felt Brian Cox (Jacques) was playing his role too strong compared with Paul Dano (Lucas) who took a more subtle approach to play his character. If it what I read about the roles being originally offered to Tom Waits (Jacques) and Ryan Gosling (Lucas) is true, then that would have made it a better film in my opinion. At the end I wasn’t bored with it, I just had high expectations for it.