Desert Hearts


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Donna Deitch's swooning and sensual first film, Desert Hearts, was

groundbreaking upon its 1986 release: a love story about two women,

produced and directed by a woman. In the 1959-set film, an adaptation

of a beloved novel by Jane Rule, straitlaced East Coast professor

Vivian Bell (Helen Shaver) arrives in Reno to file for divorce, but

winds up catching the eye of someone new, the younger free spirit Cay

(Patricia Charbonneau), touching off a slow seduction that unfolds

against the breathtaking desert landscape. With smoldering chemistry

between its two leads, an evocative jukebox soundtrack, and vivid

cinematography by Robert Elswit, Desert Hearts beautifully exudes a

sense of tender yearning and emotional candor.

Release details

0 mins

Cast and crew

Donna Deitch
Natalie Cooper
Helen Shaver
Patricia Charbonneau
Audra Lindley
Andra Akers
Dean Butler
Gwen Welles
James Staley