Rita Kempley, Washington Post:
Among the supporting players, Sam Shepard stands
out as Meg's slow-talking, snaggle-toothed and downright
irresistible old beau... The powerhouse performances are
directed by Bruce Beresford, who maintains balance among
the actresses and keeps a lovely tone and smooth pace.
Paul Attanasio, Washington Post:
A fine Sam Shepard... Director Bruce
Beresfordand the spectacular cinematographer Dante
Spinotti have lent "Crimes of the Heart" a style that is
always appropriate, often ingeniously so. Spinotti's
light re-creates the Mississippi heat without ever
becoming bland or bleached out, and Beresford frequently
keeps you at a daring distance, using production
designer Ken Adam's architecture as a kind of proscenium
The three actresses who star in the movie version--Diane
Keaton, Jessica Lange, and Sissy Spacek--bring it such
overflowing wit and radiance that they waft it up high.
The play is thin, but the actresses put so much faith in
their roles that they carry the movie, triumphantly.
Dan Geringer, Philadelphia Daily
Keaton, Lange and Spacek are all in absolutely top form
here, creating three lovably looney sisters, competitive
yet mutually supportive in the way that sisters are.
Sam Shepard does a delightfully Dennis Weaver-ish
turn as Lange's former flame. Tess Harper is equally
good as the sharp-tongued cousin.
Sheila Benson, LA Times:
Shepard, wearing glasses and playing sort of an "aw
shucks" doofuss, is entirely adequate to the role.
Vincent Canby, NY Times:
Sam Shepard, who plays Meg's one-time suitor, and
David Carpenter, as Babe's deceptively shrewd defense
attorney are excellent.
Bruce Beresfordís direction within the house is
graceful, effortlessly following the action from room to
room. Sam Shepard notches a strong performance in
the relatively small part of Doc, and Tess Harper shows
her ability as a comic actress in the role of
Lange, as the chain-smoking Meg with her mop of
straw-colored hair and heavy makeup, offers the most
astounding portrait: a loser who is down but never out.
Chris Tookey, Movie Film Review:
Stagey melodrama, but Beresford moves the camera well,
Dante Spinotti's cinematography is beautiful, and the
actresses rise to the occasion with three fine
performances. Shepard and Tess Harper are
impressive in smaller roles.
Both Spacek and Lange give wonderful performances as
damaged sisters coping in their own dysfunctional ways.
Keaton, unfortunately, fares much worse... Sam
Shepard and Tess Harper (the latter nominated for a
Best Supporting Actress Oscar) are fine in minor roles,
but donít have enough screentime to make much of an
Symptomatically, it is only when Meg and her old flame (Shepard)
take off to the bayou that the movie starts to sing.
Elsewhere, Beresford fails to generate sufficient
chemistry to bind the performances. Occasional bursts of
delicious tragic humour nevertheless make this a not
unlikeable 'feminist' mood piece.
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times:
"Crimes of the Heart" is that most delicate of
undertakings: a comedy about serious matters. It exists
somewhere between parody and melodrama, between the
tragic and the goofy. There are moments when the movie
doesn't seem to know where it's going, but for once
that's a good thing because the uncertainty almost
always ends with some kind of a delightful, weird
Beth Henley's play is translated into film and the
result, while too reliant on its theatrical origins is
still entertaining. Largely this is to do with Spacek's
performance as the youngest of three eccentric Southern
sisters... The snappy dialogue comes thick and fast,
while Spacek and Harper revel in turns that landed them
both Oscar nominations.