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Despite the name value of Keaton, Lange, and Spacek, along with a script based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play, CRIMES OF THE HEART is a dismal affair that reeks of pretentious self-importance. Keaton is the eldest of three oddball Southern sisters. Spacek, the youngest, has been in a
local jail since shooting her husband (Carroll) but is out on bond. Just arriving from Hollywood is the middle sister, Lange, a singer who just can't get a break and has been working in a dog-food factory. The three sisters are reunited at the home of their grandfather (Hatfield), where they grew
up after their mother committed suicide. Gradually old hurts and jealousies arise as the sisters get used to living with one another again. The story quickly degenerates into unabashed excess. Everybody has some sort of strange quirk, and the film subordinates any real character development to
these idiosyncracies, which make up much of the humor. But the elements of black comedy flail about madly, without any central theme to anchor them. Perhaps the biggest mistake was casting such powerhouse names in the first place: each actress does her best to give a dynamic performance, resulting
in hammy exchanges and occasional shrill screaming. Nominated by the Academy for Best Actress (Spacek losing to Marlee Matlin for CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD), Best Supporting Actress (Tess Harper), and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Beth Henley).