By Chase Whale | June 5, 2015
Director: Saverio Costanzo
Writers: Marco Franzoso (Novel), Saverio Costanzo (Screenplay)
Starring: Adam Driver, Alba Rohrwacher, Roberta Maxwell, Al Roffe, Geisha Otero, Jason Selvig, Jake Weber, David Aaron Baker, Natalie Gold
Hungry Hearts shows one of the many misfortunes of living in New York City. To explain: most places in NYC only have one bathroom, and you have to share with the opposite sex. In the opening scene of Hungry Hearts, Jude (Girls’ Adam Driver) and Mina (I Am Love’s Alba Rohrwacher) meet by chance when they both need to use the restroom at the same time. The you-would-never-believe-this-if-I-told-you moment happens when Jude has to take a poo and they accidentally get locked in the bathroom together. There’s no stopping the body and nature takes it’s course. Jude poops while Mina plugs her nose and turns on the hand dryer to drown out the sound.
Cut to the next scene: they’re lying in bed together. We learn that they have been a couple for a while now. They met by chance, fell in love in a Chinese restaurant bathroom while Jude took a shit in front of Mina. How romantic.
Hungry Hearts starts off like it’s going to be one of those great romantic comedies set in New York — something Woody Allen would enjoy watching; but it takes a nose dive soon after it’s revealed that Mina is pregnant. The pregnancy doesn’t go as healthy ones do, which begins to tear the couple apart. Her pregnancy changes everything about their relationship, but we never know why. This is perhaps the biggest flaw of the movie — it is not apparent why Mina acts the way that she does.
Writer-director Saverio Costanzo is obviously a fan of Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock, but he doesn’t pay homage to the two greats all that effectively. If anything, Costanzo does ace his portrayal of the act of worrying — something Woody Allen perfected — as Jude is a professional worrier by the end of the film.
A lot of people give Lena Dunham shit (including me) because she’s everywhere now, and has said and written some things that should have probably been left inside her head. But of the many great thing she’ll always deserve praise for is her discovery of Adam Driver, a true treasure. Driver came out of nowhere and now we need him everywhere. He’s a scene-stealing ball of fire. His charisma is quite intoxicating and it makes him a delight to watch on the screen big and small. Driver is able to turn the act of taking a shit into something romantic — I doubt that any other man on Earth could pull that off. However, his performance in Hungry Hearts is something we’re not used to — he plays a determined dad willing to do what he can to save his infant; the comedy is left behind once they exit the bathroom in the beginning of the film. That’s okay by me, I will take what I can get from Driver. He’s always a delight on screen, regardless if he’s being funny or not. He carries this movie, but it just seems like two separate films that he’s acting in. Hungry Hearts starts off as a comedy and winds up being a weird psychological thriller.
Hungry Hearts is based on the Italian novel Il bambino indaco by Marco Franzoso. Costanzo has adapted a few novels into films, so I guess this is the style of filmmaking he knows best. I haven’t read the book, but one point I believe Costanzo is trying to get across is that a chance meeting doesn’t necessarily equate to true love. One of the greatest stories to tell is how we met our spouse — that’s how this movie starts off, but shifts ugly and dirty, quick and fast.
The problem with Hungry Hearts is how it plays with our emotions and the relationship of the couple, which we know almost nothing about. It’s one of those bad Woody Allen movies where it’s more repellent than enjoyable. It shows us real problems couples face head on — which is nice because movies don’t do that often enough these days. But Hearts skips a few beats. We’re not sure where the film is heading, or why the couple becomes so angry with each other, why they don’t support each other’s decisions, or where it all went wrong. We don’t know when or why they got to this messy stage of their relationship. It’s a really strange movie that doesn’t really have a genre to classify it in. Things just aren’t right between the two and we’re just supposed to accept it.
Hungry Hearts is a real cool title for a great romantic comedy, but Angry Hearts would have been more accurate for this film.