Playing by Heart

Character: Joan
Original Release: December 18, 1998 (US)
Directed by: Willard Carroll
Written by: Willard Carroll
Produced by: Willard Carroll, Meg Liberman
Running Time: 121 minutes
Box Office: $3,956,212 (US)

Eleven articulate people work through affairs of the heart in L.A. Paul produces Hannah's TV cooking show, and they must move beyond gentle barbs when she wants to know about an affair of his years ago. Mark is dying of AIDS, and his mother comes to his bedside: they must talk truthfully. Men have scalded Meredith so she rebuffs Trent's charm, but he persists. The trendy, prolix Joan tries to pull the solitary Keenan into her orbit: why is he reluctant? An adulterous couple meet at hotels for evening sex, but she is unwilling for the relationship to grow. Hugh tells tall tales, usually tragic, to women in bars. By the week's end, their parallel stories converge.

Cast & Characters

Dennis Quaid (Hugh), April Grace (Valery), Patricia Clarkson (Allison), Gena Rowlands (Hannah), Sean Connery (Paul), Gillian Anderson (Meredith), Kellie Waymire (Jane), Madeleine Stowe (Gracie), Anthony Edwards (Roger), Jon Stewart (Trent), Ryan Phillippe (Keenan), Amanda Peet (Amber)

Photo Gallery
Filming Dates: May 5, 1998 - June 30, 1998
Filming Locations:
  • Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Originally titled 'Dancing About Architecture'. The movie still contains the line from which this title was taken: "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture."
  • Another of the working titles was "If They Only Knew".
  • Ryan Phillippe didn't tell the filmmakers that he was going to dye his hair blue. The first they knew of it, was when he turned up on set on the day of filming with his hair a different color. Most of the cast and crew were taken aback, but director Willard Carroll liked it. Coincidentally, Angelina Jolie dyed her hair on exactly the same day.
  • Up until the end of the movie Angelina Jolie doesn't have her dragon tattoo on her left arm. When all the couples meet for their parents to renew their vows you can then see that she has a red saran wrap heart on her left arm.

Memorable Quotes

Keenan: What did I ever do to deserve you?
Joan: Usually that line is screamed at me by someone running out the door, not by someone standing in front of me and staying. It makes for a nice change.

Keenan: That's the ugliest cat I've ever seen.
Joan: She's an angel.
Keenan: She only has one eye.
Joan: Yeah, but it's her good one.

Keenan: This may sound corny, but... you don't want me. I'm damaged goods.
Joan: So? We're all damaged goods.

Joan: You can't treat people the way you treat them and then say something adorable like that.

Joan: The lad doesn't say much and when he does, he finds just the right words to crush my soul.

Joan: Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.

Keenan: I can't stop thinking about you.
Joan: I love conversations that start with the guy saying "I can't stop thinking about you." Mind you I've never actually been on the receiving end of any of those conversations...
Keenan: Just looking at you makes me happy.
Joan: I have - I have to sit down.
Keenan: When we're together, whether or not I show it, I just can't wait to hear the next words out of your mouth. But right now I need to ask you to do something for me.
Joan: Anything.
Keenan: Shut up.

Joan: I feed the fucking thing. I take her to the vet, all you do is pet her twice a day... which is a HELL of a lot more than you've been doing to me lately.

Max: I uh... I like your tight body. It looks like it would do what I tell it.
Joan: What?
Max: I said...
Joan: No, I heard what you said. And I'll admit 'What?' was a rather banal, cliché, noncolorful response. What I really meant to say was: 'Why don't you do the world a big fat fucking favor and crawl back into your mother's womb?'

Joan: No, no, STOP. I've waited my entire life for somebody that I cared about to tell me they loved me and if you think you're getting out of this car now, you're INSANE.

Max: Some girls like you to say things like that to them.
Joan: Some girls like you to take a dump on them. I'm neither one of those girls.

Joan: When was having sex or not having sex not a problem?

Joan: I want to get rid of you as much as I want to get rid of that crap from Ikea.

Joan: Blanche can look at you with a gaze of unflappable superiority that springs from total detachment and disinterest... not unlike how you're looking at me know.

Keenan: This... isn't anything. It's not anything now and it won't be anything ever.
Joan: WOW. Message received, end of date.

Joan: You don't say much, do you?
Keenan: Does anyone when they're with you?

Joan: What, is that a rhetorical question? Why is my life so complicated? Gee, I don't know. Why is your life so fucking simple?

Joan: Last time I saw Harry he was wearing a blue sweater and an idiotic expression. The sweater was new.

Joan: I'll have a vodka martini, very dry, straight up. three olives, and... my sullen friend here will have...
Keenan: A Coke.
Joan: The poster boy for designated drivers will have a "Coke."

Joan: Hey, you owe me a dance.
Keenan: Just one?
Joan: No.

Awards & Nominations

Berlin International Film Festival - Best Director
National Board of Review - Breakthrough Performance - Female - Angelina Jolie