review for Wild at Heart on AllMovie

Wild at Heart (1990)
by Keith Phipps review

Appearing at the height of the director's popularity, thanks to the inescapable, if short-lived, Twin Peaks phenomenon, Wild at Heart is also the most stereotypically Lynchian of David Lynch's films, filled with striking visuals, surreal asides, pop-culture references, quirky characters, and oblique commentary on American life. As such, it will leave some viewers thrilled, others scratching their heads in annoyance. The open structure of the road film allows Lynch to indulge his most freewheeling instincts, and the results might be predictably mixed, but they're also frequently thrilling. If individual scenes themselves feel loosely connected, Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern help hold the enterprise together by lending surprising poignancy to what could have been fairly cartoonish characters. Though not without its moments of unevenness, cumulatively, it feels like the perfect contemporary picaresque for the fast-food era.