Patty Hearst puts forth much less than its pretensions. Frequently wrapped in surrealistic stylization, film manages only to tell Hearst’s side of her kidnapping ordeal.
Paralleling Hearst’s book Every Secret Thing, on which Nicholas Kazan based the script, story quickly recounts Hearst’s early life and picks up cinematically with her kidnapping.
Stuffed into a closet and blindfolded for nearly 50 days, Hearst is subjected to verbal abuse by the deranged band of self-styled revolutionaries that called themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army.
By the time Hearst is offered her freedom or membership in the SLA, one is bound to accept that the latter was chosen at least as much for survival as for any other motive.
In portraying Hearst, Natasha Richardson – daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and director Tony Richardson – is quite effective. She manages to convey all the sympathy clearly intended.