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MGM Studios DVD presents
Untamed Heart (1993)

"He doesn't make sense, I don't make sense... together, we make sense."
- Caroline (Marisa Tomei)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: February 26, 2001

Stars: Marisa Tomei, Christian Slater
Other Stars: Rosie Perez, Kyle Secor
Director: Tony Bill

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (some violence, language, sexual situations)
Run Time: 01h:41m:57s
Release Date: January 09, 2001
UPC: 027616857798
Genre: romance

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ BCB+ D+

DVD Review

Untamed Heart stars Marisa Tomei as Caroline, a lovelorn young waitress in Minneapolis, and Christian Slater as Adam, a quiet busboy at the restaurant where Caroline works. When Adam rescues Caroline from the scurrilous intentions of a pair of ne'er-do-wells late one night, a relationship begins to blossom in the shadow of Adam's failing health.

In many ways, Untamed Heart is a typical Hollywood movie, carefully calculated to reach a certain audience by any mawkish, manipulative means necessary. Cornball lines and strained romantic metaphors abound, and there's something cynical about the whole endeavor - one imagines plot points were thrown into a hat, focus-tested, sorted and assembled into a treatment. There are entirely too many coincidences and fortuitously timed events to lend any sense of verité to the cinema on display here, and director Tony Bill approaches the material in by-the-numbers fashion. One can almost predict the long shots, two-shots and establishing shots before they arrive onscreen.

And yet, it all somehow works in the end. Tomei and Slater deserve most of the credit - they manage to deliver the awkwardly scripted dialogue with credibility, finding a warm, genuine chemistry that makes the inevitability of their characters' romance entertaining in spite of itself. Tomei is sweet and casually attractive, affecting a Minnesota accent just subtle enough to work, and Slater communicates Adam's loneliness and romantic inexperience without making him seem pathetic or scary. The strong lead performances ground the story in reality, glossing over the script's verbal missteps and plot contrivances by sheer force of talent. Director Bill (more at home with actors than cinematography) evokes qualities of his earlier My Bodyguard here, with well-drawn supporting characters - the villainous Howard (Kyle Secor) is genuinely offensive, and Rosie Perez is energetic and fun as Caroline's fellow waitress and best friend Cindy without seeming like comic relief.

Is Untamed Heart a great film? No. But it's not half bad, either - one can't help sympathizing with its appealing leads, and it steers clear of melodrama for the most part. Flawed and sentimental, but tender and surprisingly honest, it will appeal to anyone who's ever lucked into unexpected love.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: MGM presents Untamed Heart anamorphically in its original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio. The source print has some dirt here and there, shadow detail is below average and color is a bit oversaturated, contributing to the transfer's slightly soft look. Distracting digital compression artifacts are rare, and the content is certainly watchable; this is a thoroughly average transfer, typical of MGM's current rush of catalog titles. The included theatrical trailer actually looks nicer than the main attraction; anamorphic enhancement alone does not a great transfer make.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Untamed Heart features Dolby 2.0 Surround audio in three languages, English, French and Spanish. The mix is generally front-oriented, with centered dialogue and stereo music, though a few pans and surround effects work well; the theatrical Dolby Stereo mix seems well-represented here with adequate bass supporting the pop-music soundtrack. The three tracks are very similar in character; the French dub sports well-done lip-synching, and the music in the Spanish mix is a bit brighter. Competently presented, but nothing spectacular.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: other
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The Untamed Heart disc provides very little in this department: 16 picture-menu chapter stops, French and Spanish subtitle tracks, and the theatrical trailer in 1.85:1 anamorphic (looking quite a bit better than the feature, actually, with more natural color and better detail). Another quickie catalog release, this time from MGM's "Contemporary Classics" series.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Untamed Heart is a sweet little romantic drama, buoyed considerably by fine performances from stars Marisa Tomei and Christian Slater. MGM's DVD features a decent transfer, but no supplements; the disc is still worth a rental.


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