A Change of Heart (1998)
Dealing with Feelings
Elaine (Jean Smart) and Jim Marshall (John Terry) have had a happy marriage for twenty years with both having decent jobs as well as kids who are growing up, things could not be better. But they certainly could be worse which is what happens when Elaine starts to become suspicious of Jim and thinks he is hiding something. Having gone to a hotel written in Jim's work diary she discovers he's been having an affair but not with a woman as she catches him with another man. With the revelation that Jim is gay and has been hiding it in fear of what will happen the perfect life which Elaine and her kids have spirals in to chaos.
One of the problems when reviewing movies especially TV movies is that you can stumble across a movie which seems to have impressed other viewers but leaves you not so impressed because it all feels so familiar. That is the issue I have with "A Change of Heart" as it is not the first movie I have watched with the premise of a married man and a father coming out and admitting that they are gay. It is not the first movie which shows the knock on effect of this especially when it comes to the man's son taking his anger out on a gay teenager. Basically "A Change of Heart" hits the same marks which some other movies have hit in exploring the theme of a married man coming out as gay.
The thing is that "A Change of Heart" is for the most a well made movie with many a good scene such as when to Elaine's horror she not only finds out her husband has been cheating on her but with another man. The initial element of repulsion followed by depression and confusion with that element of not being with it as her head spins is spot on. But a later scene in which Elaine's son is in front of a judge ends up partially wrong because whilst it is a scene who is supposed to be about forgiveness and understanding can be very easily misconstrued. It is a shame because these few scenes where the realism is lost let down the movie.
Fortunately "A Change of Heart" has Jean Smart a fantastic actress who manages to deliver every aspect of her character from the initially perfect wife to the one in turmoil especially the initial repulsion of discovering Jim with another man. In fairness her character has the movies best writing but she manages to bring every conflict across in a realistic manner right down to becoming overly controlling when it comes to her own children.
What this all boils down to is that "A Change of Heart" is a good movie, tackling an interesting subject and for the most doing a good job of working through the issues. Yes it has some problems when it comes to the narrative but it also has Jean Smart who is great from start to finish and brings to life the heart of the movie.
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