Love Field

(Jonathan Kaplan, USA, 1992)


In Australia, Love Field sat on the shelf unsighted for almost two years. It isn't very long into watching it before that old, sinking feeling tells you why.

Here is a film that went straight to hell on the road of good intentions. It tells the story of a dizzy, peroxide blonde housewife (Michelle Pfeiffer) devastated by the death of JFK, who leaves her husband and hooks up on the road with a handsome but enigmatic black gentleman (Dennis Haysbert) and his young daughter.

The film has high and noble intentions: to show how seismic changes in American history and politics in the '60s played themselves out in the private, emotional lives of individuals.

But it is a flat, pious drama, full of too-neat ironies, stiff attempts at humour, and an awfully clichéd musical score. Jonathan Kaplan (Over the Edge, 1979) is usually a fine director even with unpromising material, but he is thoroughly defeated by the liberal platitudes of this project – not to mention its horribly patronising view of 'ordinary' people.

From a vantage point fifteen years on, it is striking to what extent this film prophesises the TV series American Dreams.

MORE Kaplan: Brokedown Palace, Heart Like a Wheel, Immediate Family, Unlawful Entry, White Line Fever, Fallen Angels, Project X

© Adrian Martin December 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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