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An Affair of the Heart (2012)
Breaking Glass Pictures
Blu-ray Disc Released: 7/16/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/18/2013
While I'm not adverse to biographical documentaries and biopics, they aren't my favorite genre. Sure, I've enjoyed movies like42 and Paul Williams: Still Alive, and I've learned things from then, but I rarely feel like these films are aimed at me. They often profile someone who either lived before my time, or was involved in a field or effort which falls outside of my areas of interest. So, it was with great interest that I approached An Affair of the Heart, a documentary which focuses on 80s rocker Rick Springfield. As Springfield is no longer a household name, one may assume that this movie is similar to Paul Williams: Still Alive, as it checks in on an aging music start. But, we quickly learn that Springfield isn't really the subject of this movie.
Rick Springfield was a media darling in the early 80s. He starred as Dr. Noah Drake on the TV soap opera General Hospital, a role which he has done on and off for years. But, more importantly, after years of struggling as a musician, Rick had a breakthrough hit with 1981's "Jessie's Girl", which became a phenomenon. Having conquered television and music, Springfield proved, to a certain extent, that he was more than just a pretty face as he mastered the difficult art of the guitar-driven pop song. While Springfield has continued to record albums, with his last coming in 2012, and dabble in acting (did you see him (all of him) on Californication?), it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that Rick isn't in the spotlight as he used to be.
But, Springfield, who was 61 when the film was shot, continues to tour all over the world. I had assumed, and it's understandable why, that the film would focus on how he's still going strong while nearing retirement age. And, in a very small way, the movie does touch on this. However, the real focus of the movie falls on Springfield's fans. Well, fans doesn't really cover it. Nor does fanatic. These people are obsessed with Rick Springfield. Yes, you read that right. The main emphasis falls on four women who can't get enough of the aging rocker. Reverend Kate Dennis and Laurie Bennett both share stories of how Springfield's music got them through trying times. Sue DeVita and JoAnn Camporeale are suburban housewives who leave their husbands and children to follow Springfield on tour. We also meet Dustin Walker, a young musician who has performed on-stage with Springfield. All of these people have been to multiple concerts and have met Rick on numerous occasions. We see how Springfield takes the time to mingle with his fans at concerts and at annual events in Milwaukee (although we're never told why Milwaukee) and on a theme cruise. Yes, there is a cruise to the Bahamas where fans can attend various events with Springfield. (The scene where they follow him as he wades in the ocean looks like something from a biblical epic.)
Once you get over the initial surprise that all of these Rick Springfield events exist, you really begin to notice just how devoted these fans are. I can't help but imagine that Director Sylvia Caminer's initial goal was to show how Springfield is still going strong, but at some point, she turned her attention to the obsessive fans. This makes for a movie which lives in two worlds, but succeeds in neither. We learn a little about Springfield, but it's not enough. This is a man who came to the U.S. to become a star and fulfilled that dream. He's also dealt with mental illness and ups and downs in his marriage. His life story certainly warrants close scrutiny, but there's simply not enough of that here. As for the fans, the more we see of the main individuals here, the weirder it gets. Sure, we all have that thing we love, but the story of the women who leave their families to follow Springfield and talk about him from the time that they get up to when they go to bed is somewhat unnerving. Also, it feels like overkill to have two women who share how the music essentially saved their lives. It's certainly interesting to know that Springfield has die-hard fans, but after watching segment after segment of them fawning over him, I kept waiting for the people who attend Comic-Con in costume to call and say, "OK, they're taking it too far." I must admit that I did learn some things from An Affair of the Heart and the throngs of people following Rick makes for compelling viewing, but the movie is unbalanced and instead of coming away with admiration for Springfield's longevity, we simply feel somewhat icky because of the fans.
An Affair of the Heart shows just how diverse a Swedish music festival can be on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no intrusive grain and no defects from the source material. Being a documentary, Caminer wasn't always able to control the shooting conditions, so some shots are somewhat dark. Otherwise, the image is well-balanced and the colors are good. The level of detail is impressive and the depth is adequate. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As one would help, the music hears sounds great and the live performances offer crashing guitars and palpable bass. The detail here is good and Springfield's voice is never drowned out by the instruments. The crowd noises are prominently displayed in the rear channels.
All of the extra features for An Affair of the Heart are found on Disc 2. The Disc contains eight EXTENDED SCENES, which come from various parts of the movie, and run 33 minutes. Hear we see additional concert footage, hear more interviews with the fans, and get more comments from Springfield. We also get nine additional "Interviews and Conversations", which offers more footage of Corey Feldman and Linda Blair discussing Springfield, and which runs about 46 minutes. (Did you know that Corey Feldman had a band or that he'd been in a movie with Springfield?) There is footage of the film's premiere in Malibu, at the Florida Film Festival, and at Hot Docs International (which runs 18 minutes total). The extras are rounded out by a PHOTO GALLERY and the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.