Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Kent Moran, Alexia Rasmussen, Cybill Shepherd, Frank Watson, Ernie Sabella
Director: Matt Thompson
Release Date: 14 August 2010
Length: 100 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
Danny (Kent Moran) is a struggling musician who dreams of writing famous songs, but spends his time working for small wages. When Ariana (Alexia Rasmussen) dines at Tony’s, the restaurant where Danny works as a waiter, it is love at first sight. Danny slips Ariana his phone number, but she doesn’t call him. He discovers why when Ariana shows up at the restaurant two weeks later and explains that she is deaf and doesn’t own a phone. Undeterred, Danny pursues Ariana and is thrilled to learn that she returns his feelings wholeheartedly. Cue the wicked mother (Cybill Shepherd) who is determined to keep Ariana under her protection. Will Ariana’s mother be able to keep these two lovebirds apart permanently?
I expected very little of this movie and was absolutely floored at the strength and power of the ending. The beginning is a typical love story. The only unique aspect of the story and the characters is that one of them is deaf. Danny is played by Kent Moran, a handsome young actor who seems genuinely nice and very sweet. I confess that I fell in love with him as the movie progressed so I can totally see why Ariana, or Sam as he called her, couldn’t stay away! Danny is one of those people who changes lives. He buys newpapers from a dodgy looking man on the street even though he never reads them. He pitches in to help at the restaurant and does more than he needs to for less pay than he deserves. He helped take care of his mother during her cancer treatments and still believes that “every day is a great day to be alive,” which was his mother’s greeting for each new day. Ariana/Sam is played by Alexia Rasmussen. She is pretty enough, but wasn’t really anything special when she is apart from Danny. However, Alexia Rasmussen does a great job portraying a deaf person and it is always great to see the deaf community portrayed in a positive light. Sam lost her father when she was a little girl and then she lost her hearing. Her mother, Victoria (Cybill Shepherd), is very overprotective and tries to keep Sam away from everyone and everything. There was definitely a special spark between Danny and Sam and I grew to love them as a couple. They were so lucky to find this kind of love at the ages of 21 and 24! Unfortunately, the couple is kind of like a modern-day Romeo and Juliet and their path to love definitely does not run smooth…
At first, Listen To Your Heart was typical for a romance movie. You have star-crossed lovers, an evil villain trying to keep them apart and then a happily-ever-after, right? Wrong. This movie is definitely a hopefully-ever-after. Sam finally defies her mother and runs off to live with her prince in his small apartment, only to learn that Danny has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. This was a huge surprise and I was stunned. If treated, Danny may have a few more months to live, but his time is definitely limited. I could not stop crying during the last 15 – 20 minutes and I do not typically cry during movies. Watching Danny go through chemo, supported by Sam, the love of his life, and Roger (Frank Watson), his best friend, was bittersweet. I was so grateful that Danny had people who loved him surrounding him during his last days on earth, but it was so difficult to say goodbye to him! These scenes always make me think about what I would do with the last days of my life and I think I would spend them in the same way. Frank Watson plays Roger, Danny’s best friend, and he has a few scene-stealing moments towards the end. Danny did not have any blood relatives when he died, but he certainly had a family who loved him! Danny changed so many people’s lives and influenced many for good. He was inspiring and made me want to try and be more like him. Danny never changed the world and, as an ordinary man, he and many like him will not be remembered for anything they achieved here on this earth. But this doesn’t mean that he was forgotten. He changed the course of Sam’s life for certain and, in the end, the story of music changing a life becomes Sam’s instead of Danny’s.
I believe that this movie is totally correct in their portrayal of music – a song can change your life. If you look back over your life, you will almost always find a soundtrack accompanies it. I can remember special moments and events in my life when a certain song plays on the radio. Danny composes and performs many songs throughout the movie and, while solid, they were nothing special. The best musical performances, in my opinion, were the instrumental numbers. There is a beautiful piano piece played during the credits that I encourage you to listen to while you try to stop crying.
Really, the best part of the movie is the cancer section at the end. When Danny’s friend, Roger, tells Danny to dump Ariana and move on to another girl who would be easier to be in love with and more fun, Danny tells him “I don’t want to miss out on something great just because it might also be hard.” This line stayed with me throughout the movie and it really struck a chord at the end of the film. It seemed like Danny had very few regrets when he died and I could not say the same if I was in his shoes today. I find myself strangely inspired by this movie and hope that I can live my life a little bit better. I should be more inclusive, more positive and not let myself be afraid. The movie is a bit contrived and, at times, is poorly acted, but the message and the story really inspired me. Do yourself a favor and don’t be too critical when you watch this movie. There is a sweet message contained inside if you allow yourself to enjoy it and believe in it.
This movie contains some scenes of heavy petting and kissing. There are a couple of bar scenes and Ariana gets drunk for the first time. There is a scene of attempted rape. The movie also portrays the suffering of a cancer patient and then eventually, death. There is some mild violence and fighting, mostly verbal. There are scenes of drinking. Recommended for ages 10 and up.