Thoughtfully cast, superbly acted and masterfully written and directed, Crimes of the Heart is a winner. Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek are a delight in their roles as southern sisters attempting to come to grips with the world, themselves and the past.
Based on Beth Henley’s 1980 play, Lenny (Keaton) is the eldest of three sisters and the only one still living in the large North Carolina home of their youth. It is Lenny’s birthday, a day marked by youngest sister Babe’s (Spacek) jailing for shooting her husband and the arrival of middle sister Meg (Lange), visiting from LA where she pursues a singing career.
Far from being downbeat, the interplay between Keaton’s nervously frantic Lenny, Spacek’s unpredictable Babe and Lange as the hard-living Meg is as funny as it is riveting.
Bruce Beresford’s direction within the house is graceful, effortlessly following the action from room to room. Sam Shepard notches a strong performance in the relatively small part of Doc, and Tess Harper shows her ability as a comic actress in the role of neighbor/relative Chick.
1986: Nominations: Best Actress (Sissy Spacek), Supp. Actress (Tess Harper), Adapted Screenplay