My Cat Persephone Wrote this Review on her Smartphone. It was better than Mine. .
Rachel Koller Croft
If you haven’t seen the trailer to Torn Hearts, you must be warned. The premise involves two country singers so there are times when you the viewer will have to listen to (no!) country music during the movie.
Keep in mind, Torn Hearts isn’t a bad movie at all but you will have to listen…you know.
Again, if your ears, eyes, mind, and heart can take listening to country music, then you will have a pretty decent time. But, if you’re like me and you’d rather ______ a ______ with a ______ than listen to country, then it would be best if you skip this one for your own good and the good of others and for all that is good and holy in this world of ours.
Torn Hearts opens with a VHS recording from 1993. There are two giant-haired sisters by the name of Harper and Hope Dutch, but you might know them by their stage name, the country duo called The Dutchess Sisters. 1993 is the height of their popularity as they’ve been named the Best New Artists from the Country Music Association People Wearing Big Hats.
Their future is bright and nothing will get in their way. Harper and Hope will dominate the country scene for years to come with their hit songs, "Highs And Lows And Engine Trouble" and "That’s Our Brother We Can’t Do That!"
Until we see blood seeping from under a door.
The Dutchess Sisters have just become a solo act. Hope is gone. As in dead. Hope the person, not the abstract feeling.
We fast forward to the present day and we see two young country singers on stage. They go by the name Torn Hearts.
Leigh (Alexxis Lemire) is the face of the band. She’s the lead singer and has a star quality. She’s dating their manager Richard (Joshua Leonard) who’s a lot older than her.
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Jordan (Abby Quinn) writes all the songs. She works hard, but always seems to be taking a backseat to Leigh. You think she resents it?
Manager Richard has invited world renowned country superstar Caleb Crawford (Shiloh Fernandez, The Evil Dead) to sit in on Torn Hearts’ set to consider them to open a summer tour. Caleb, as you know, sings those great country hits like "Cleaning My Gun, Beer, And Shirts" and his number one banger, "Trucks And Beer And Cousins."
Caleb likes what he sees. He also likes taking Jordan home and hooking up with her and then telling her that the tour will be all-male and that Torn Hearts never had a shot. Jordan feels used. But she also sees a picture of Caleb with a present day Harper Dutch (Katey Sagal). Caleb and Harper were going to do a song together but it didn’t pan out. Jordan demands that Caleb give her Harper’s address since the tour’s not happening.
Jordan and Leigh just happen to be the biggest Dutchess Sisters fans, like EVER. They listened to all their albums and feel super bad that Hope is dead.
Jordan’s favorite Dutchess Sisters song is "My Brother, My Husband."
Leigh’s favorite Dutchess Sisters song is "Fishing With My Husband" (also my brother).
Torn Hearts has to be in the studio the next morning, Leigh and Jordan have the totally not psycho idea to drive all the way to Harper’s house uninvited and ask if she would give them advice and possibly write and/or perform a song with them.
This is such a good idea it’s a wonder no one has thought of it before and does not come across as stalker-y at all.
They go to Harper’s house. They tell her what huge fans they are. Just for the hell of it Harper lets them in. As Jordan and Leigh walk to the house they notice that the estate hasn’t really been kept up. The lawn hasn’t been mowed. There are old AOL discs all over the foliage. Old Blockbuster videos are in the pond, no doubt with some hefty late fees.
But everything will be alright because Torn Hearts is about the meet their idol. Or half of their favorite group because one of them is dead.
Harper is not entirely happy to see them, but she’s curious about this new country blood. She’s been living alone since Hope died and wants to get back into singing. Hope sees that Torn Hearts has some talent, but do they have what it takes to make it to the top?
Harper says it might be a good idea to record a song with Torn Hearts, but she has to get to know them better. She forces them to drink a lot of alcohol.
Leigh and Jordan wake up the next morning with a huge hangover, in different clothes, in kooky new haircuts, with subscriptions to streaming services they didn’t have before.
Before the day is through, Leigh and Jordan will find out if they have what it takes. To do that they will have to be honest about what they’re willing to do, even if gets dirty.
What Works With Torn Hearts
- A wonderful, unhinged performance by Katey Sagal. Early in the movie someone makes a reference to Sunset Blvd. While Segal doesn’t quite do Norma Desmond, there are times when she gets pretty close. You rarely know where Harper is coming from. If she’s really crazy or if it’s just an act. Sagal keeps the audience on their boot-goofin’ toes.
- There’s some violence in the movie, but Torn Hearts is more psychological terror than anything else. Few scenes get under your skin more than Jordan and Leigh “interrogating” each other (the video below, for example).
- The pink room.
What Doesn’t Work With Torn Hearts
- You have to listen to some country music. This is the most terrifying part of the movie or any movie.
- For the most part director Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift) keeps the 90+ minute running time free of hitches or deal-breaking dead spots. But the third act drags as we inch toward the climax. For 60 minutes, we’ve been hooked to see what happens. Now isn’t the time to stall.
- Country music is played.
Full of tension but without many overt frights, Torn Hearts is a solid piece of psychological horror and well worth 90 minutes of your time. Provided the country music doesn’t make you want to drive your car off a cliff like Thelma and Louise.