An overbearing mother puts a contract out on her
daughter's wild boyfriend after they run away together.
Wild at Heart (1990)
Written and Directed by David Lynch
Starring Nicolas Cage, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Willem Dafoe,
J.E. Freeman, Harry Dean Stanton, Isabella Rossellini
Based on the novel by Barry Gifford
Oscar Nominations - Best Supporting Actress (Diane Ladd)
Wild at Heart is essentially David Lynch's love story, and it's just as depraved as you'd imagine that union of artist and medium to be. I don't think I've ever seen a worse mother character in a movie, with Marietta (Ladd) doing everything in her power to keep Sailor Ripley (Cage) away from her daughter Lula (Dern). She does this for a number of reasons, by the way. One, she thinks Sailor might've witnessed Marietta murder her husband. Two, Sailor refuses to fuck her in the bathroom at a ballroom dance. So, yeah, she's a pretty despicable character, and apart from Sailor and Lula, everyone else is too.
Sailor and Lula, however, are made for each other. They're both crazy for one another and refuse to let the world tear them apart, despite the clear fact that the world is against them. Cage and Dern are superb, with Cage constantly singing Elvis songs and wearing a snakeskin jacket while Dern never takes her eyes off him. It's a match made in Lynch's bizarre idea of heaven, and despite an overly long runtime, it works. The ending is a bit rushed, though, with Marietta and Santos (Freeman) never getting their comeuppance. That's my only real gripe.
Wild at Heart will satisfy the weirdo requirements of David Lynch purists, but it's coherent enough to attract regular film fans too. The cast is excellent, and the love story perfectly straddles the line between conventional and unorthodox. Plus, it's got Nic Cage singing "Love Me Tender" over the end credits. Who wouldn't love that?