Cinema: All They Need Is Love

Everyone wins in the winning Playing by Heart

Willard Carroll is a cockeyed optimist. The writer-director of Playing by Heart thinks our dysfunctions are curable. Or at the very least transcendable. With a little help from the great cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, he bathes this radically unfashionable idea in a glow so romantic that even Los Angeles, where most of his multicharacter, multigenerational saga takes place, is transformed. The world capital of road rage is returned, in his vision, to something like the balmy prettiness of its prelapsarian prewar era.

This is no accident. It is something like a moral imperative for Carroll. He wants us to understand that...

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