It’s interesting to see this film now that its source has been debunked. It’s based on the book of the same name by “J.T. Leroy,” which was marketed as a true story, but which, like so many books and justifications for war, turned out to be wholly made-up. Nonetheless, director/star Asia Argento does a great job with the material, and it certainly doesn’t matter that none of it is true. It’s the story of a young boy who is taken from his foster parents when the drug-addled mother he never knew reclaims him. This leads him on a months-long journey into the world of sex, drugs and punk rock ’n’ roll, until, at the tender age of 7, he’s “rescued” by a family of hard-core Christian evangelists. Then, a couple of years later, he’s “rescued” from the Christophiles by his drug-addict mother again. The cast is great, especially Dylan and Cole Sprouse as Jeremiah. Peter Fonda, Ornella Muti, Michael Pitt, Kip Pardue, Ben Foster, Jeremy Sisto and Marilyn Manson all appear, and none of them are terrible! But the best elements are the strange, animated fantasy sequences that Argento slips in, especially those featuring flesh-eating, red-feathered crows. Heart Is Deceitful has a lot of flaws, and it’s not the most original (or true!) film out there, but it is an amusing and distracting effort, and it’s kept to a wise 98 minutes.


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