The Lawless Heart starts – and then re-starts in a “Sliding Doors” kind of way – at the wake of Stuart, a restauranteur in a small town who is only ever seen on screen through his home movies at the beginning and ending of the film. The start of the movie is a little uncomfortable as we’re given a brief introduction to the main characters.
As the movie progresses, the interconnecting lawyers between those at the wake becomes evident. And as this occurs, the nature of that interconnection becomes more complex. A character I thought was a mother turns out to be a sister. A new girlfriend is revealed as having had a previous relationship. A gay man has a relationship with a straight woman. Why? The answer is there: but unfortunately, it takes a long time to get there.
I spent two thirds of the movie incredibly frustrated, wondering where this was all leading. As my friend, Colin later commented, “I thought for a second we were going to get EVERYONE’s interpretation of what occured after the funeral.” And then, just as I was on the verge of slashing my wrists in frustration, it happened… the purpose for the movie was revealed. It suddenly reached the point where the emotions came to to forefront.
It was then I realised this was a film about grief in its many forms. Grief for the loss of Stuart. Grief about regretted decisions in life. But it’s also about those unexpected decisions in life. For example, why does the gay man in mourning for his partner have sex with the straight woman? The sex scene, by the way, borders on rape. When asked to explain he gives us an insight into why some seemingly odd things can occur. Ditto for other characters in the film.
Although filmed on the Isle Of Man, and the scenery plays a prominent part in the movie, I have no desire to visit there. It all looks too bleak and flat.
In hindsight, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this film, but I still think it’s worth seeing… but hang in there, as you may find it frustrating for a while.