Clara's Heart (1988) starring Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Ontkean, Kathleen Quinlan, Neil Patrick Harris, Spalding Gray, Beverly Todd, Hattie Winston directed by Robert Mulligan Movie Review

Clara's Heart (1988)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Whoopi Goldberg in Clara's Heart (1988)

Clara, Clara

Maybe if I had watched "Clara's Heart" back in 1988 when it was released I would be more charmed by it but I didn't and since it was made there have been other similar movies including "Corrina, Corrina" which also stars Whoopi Goldberg in a slightly similar role. As such whilst "Clara's Heart" entertained and had a certain amount of charm about it with the no nonsense attitude of Clara who ends up bonding with a young boy it failed to blow me away.

When their baby daughter died it rocked the Hart household leading to Leona (Kathleen Quinlan) and Bill (Michael Ontkean) taking a break in Jamaica leaving their young son David (Neil Patrick Harris - Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) at home with the staff. It is whilst in Jamaica that Leona meets no nonsense maid Clara (Whoopi Goldberg - Jumpin' Jack Flash) and arranges for her to come and work for them much to David's annoyance as he takes an instant dislike to her. But with his parents destroying their marriage as they both embark on new relationships David grows fond of Clara as she becomes the parent he is lacking although one with a dark secret of her own.

Neil Patrick Harris in Clara's Heart (1988)

So here is the thing about "Clara's Heart" whilst it sets up reasonably quickly a certain mystery over Clara what immediately follows is quite familiar. We go through the initial animosity which young David feels towards Clara as he sees her as someone else for his parents to palm him off to. But of course we see how they end up bonding with Clara and her no nonsense attitude being exactly what he needs not only to make him grow up but also stop being such a brat. Yes it's fun and charming but nothing really special with most of the joy coming from Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris working well together.

Of course whilst this is charming there is also that dark secret surrounding Clara which we do eventually learn. But trust me this dark secret is exactly that and for me feels too dark for this sort of movie. Although it does reward Goldberg with one of those scenes where she gets to demonstrate her talent for delivering great dialogue.

What this all boils down to is that "Clara's Heart" is a solid movie of it type which despite being made in the 80s hasn't dated that badly. But for the most it covers some familiar ground and doesn't do it any better than any other movie.