Reviewed on videocassette, Sept. 6, 1995 (In Boston Film Festival). Running time: 90 MIN.

Reviewed on videocassette, Sept. 6, 1995 (In Boston Film Festival). Running time: 90 MIN.

Elizabeth … Kelly Fritz

Lee … Doug Hubbell

Elaine … Marlene May

Brian … Jeremy Beck

Monica … Wendy Jewell

“Sacred Hearts” is an example of regional filmmaking (in this case, Evansville, Ind.) at its best. Unfortunately, there’s no niche for such films without a hook of a star, an outrageous style or elements of sex or violence. This is a simple coming-of-age story about a 17-year-old girl (played by the comely Kelly Fritz) discovering that life has no easy answers. It’s too low-budget to appeal to adolescents, and too adolescent to appeal to arthouse patrons. Commercial prospects are dim.

Elizabeth’s (Fritz) neurotic mother (Marlene May) has checked into a convent-hospital to deal with her demons, and her academic father (Doug Hubbell) is taking up with one of his adult students (Wendy Jewell). Pic clarifies mom’s situation but never makes it easy, and dad’s relationship remains ambiguous. Elizabeth also deals with her first real summer job as a lifeguard, and her first real love — a student chef spending the summer as a tennis instructor (Jeremy Beck).

Performances are low key, as befits the story, with Fritz, May, and Hubbell the standouts. Director Patrick O’Connor (who co-scripted with Margaret McMullen) wants viewers to identify with Elizabeth as she alternately loves and judges her difficult parents.

Tech values are modest but adequate to the task. Subject might have been better served by a novel pitched to female adolescents who would most respond to the character’s dilemma; it’s hard to imagine teens flocking to the mall for this, although if enticed they just might like it.

Sacred Hearts

Production

Brennan Dicker, Margaret McMullen. Directed by Patrick O'Connor. Screenplay, McMullen, O'Connor.

Crew

Camera (Astro Color), Dana Kupper, editor, Susanne Suffredin; music, Kerry Kelekovich; sound, Rob Braxton.
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