I love genre movies that exist beneath the big studio radar, and filmmaker Brea Grant’s 12 Hour Shift blew my socks off. She wrote and headlined 2020’s underrated Lucky. With an A-list actor to anchor her latest feature Torn Hearts, Grant continues to flourish.
As witnessed with 12 Hour Shift, director Brea Grant has a talent for casting top of the line actors (Angela Bettis and Chloe Farnworth are terrific in that feature). With Torn Hearts, we have a trip of artists (Katey Sagal, Alexxis Lemire, Abby Quinn) delivering pitch perfect work as well.
Leigh (Lemire) and Jordan (Quinn) are struggling country artists who believe their careers can reach a higher level as a duo. After a one-night stand with a country star (Shiloh Fernandez), Jordan scores the address of Harper Dutch (Katey Sagal). A legend in the Nashville Country Music scene, Harper is now a recluse due to the tragic and mysterious death of her sister.
Against their better judgment, Jordan and Leigh visit Harper’s unkempt mansion, hoping for an audience with their idol. Harper obliges. Though the young women are angling to cut a song with Harper, their starry eyed dreams will come face to face with Harper’s “reality.”
Listen to my review of Torn Hearts on the Find Your Film podcast:
Though she is assumedly working with a slightly bigger budget than 12 Hour Shift, Grant still knows how to make the most of whatever resources are at her disposal. A Blumhouse Television and EPIX collaboration, Torn Hearts could have come off as a cheap horror thriller by a lesser filmmaker (or cast).
Instead, we are treated to a gem of a movie, powered by a deliciously unhinged performance by Katey Sagal and convincing (and oftentimes heartbreaking) work from Abby Quinn and Alexxis Lemire. To add even more value to the production, we are treated to several country music songs that absolutely upscales the narrative. Hopefully Quinn, Lemire, and Quinn will be able to perform some of Torn Hearts’ songs down the road.
If you are an indie cinema fan, seeing director Joshua Leonard (co-director of the underrated Fully Realized Humans) as a manipulative manager and Shiloh Fernandez (The Birthday Cake) as a country artist is also an added bonus.
The pacing of Torn Hearts is also top notch, as Grant confidently turns up the heat for its stress inducing third act. My slight complaint is that I wanted a different ending, and maybe I will discuss my take on a spoiler discussion of Torn Hearts. That said, Rachel Koller Croft’s finely tuned script is also worth noting. Torn Hearts could have easily gone down the overly cheesy and campy route, but Croft and Grant strike a really good balance between homage (look for the Sunset Boulevard shout out!) and singular storytelling.
Torn Hearts hits digital on Friday, May 20. I love this movie, and hoping members of our CinemAddicts Facebook Group and cinephiles around the world share their opinions of this flick!
Torn Hearts Rating:
Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Listen to my Torn Hearts review on Apple Podcasts:
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