Brief summary: Beautifully-written ensemble piece about a group of Los Angeles residents, a majority of which are neurotic and bad with relationships. First we have Hugh (Dennis Quaid) who seems to have a huge identity crisis, and tells bizarre stories to random strangers…. and then we have Joan (Angelina Jolie), a hyperactive, pushy woman who spends most of her free time dancing at nightclubs. Additionally, there’s Meredith (Gillian Anderson), a playwright who is completely sullen and jaded, and has no interest in men, specifically an architect (Jon Stewart) who has a huge crush on her… and then there’s the older couple (Sean Connery & Gena Rowlands), who constantly bicker over jealousy and trite things in their relationship. And then there’s Mark (Jay Mohr), who is gay and dying of AIDS, and his somewhat estranged mother (Ellen Burstyn) is spending his last moments on earth, trying to get to know him better.
Without going into full detail about the other characters (Ryan Phillipe as Keenan, Madeline Stowe as Gracie, Anthony Edwards as Roger, the priest)…. let me just say that you definitely should see this film. Playing by Heart is one of the films that made me start this blog in the first place…. I’ve constantly said through the years how truly underrated it is. While the cast is basically all-star, none of the acting is sub-par, and the stories are so carefully connected that you never really get lost in any of the sub-plots.