Three of Hearts (1993)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Sex Comedy, Gay & Lesbian Films  |   Run Time - 103 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Three of Hearts is a film that doesn't explore homosexuality and its repercussions (like fellow 1990s romantic comedies Chasing Amy and Threesome) as much as it uses them, usually to good effect, as a new hook to a story about how emotionally damaged people find the strength to move beyond limiting relationships. Connie (Kelly Lynch) is devastated when her lover, Ellen (Sherilyn Fenn), ends their relationship, hinting that she finds Connie a bit suffocating. Joe (William Baldwin) is a surprisingly sensitive gigolo who loves the power he has to seduce women, but who leans on his sublimely sinister pimp (Joe Pantoliano) for protection and guidance. The story line that brings Joe to the ladies -- Connie's plot to drive Ellen back to her by hiring Joe to break Ellen's heart -- would feel like a mere Hollywood plot contrivance, but screenplay writers Adam Greenman and Mitch Glazer and director Yurek Bogayevicz knowingly establish the characters' lives and situation. And Kelly Lynch does such a good job playing Connie's alternately comic and tragic desperation at the loss of her lover that the bait-and-switch scam seems an understandable ploy. This isn't a movie loaded with great love scenes or punch lines, but it doesn't need them. Good romantic comedies don't have to be about great loves or laughs to be effective, they just have to give you a sense of an emotional journey completed or a lesson learned. Three of Hearts does that, and that's why it works.