Random Hearts

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This article is about the film. For the novel, see Random Hearts (novel).
Random Hearts
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Produced by
  • Martin Jurow
  • Marykay Powell
Written by Darryl Ponicsan
Screenplay by Kurt Luedtke
Based on Random Hearts 
by Warren Adler
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Philippe Rousselot
Edited by William Steinkamp
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • October 8, 1999 (1999-10-08) (USA)
Running time
133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $64 million[1][2]
Box office $74.6 million[3]

Random Hearts is a 1999 American romantic drama film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas. Based on the 1984 novel of the same name by Warren Adler, the film is about a police officer and a congresswoman who discover that their spouses were having an affair prior to being killed in a air disaster.


The film adaptation loosely follows the story of the novel, but many of the characters have been changed. Edward Davis is now Sergeant William 'Dutch' Van Den Broeck, a Washington, D.C. police officer. Vivien Simpson is now Kay Chandler, a wealthy Republican Congresswoman with a teenage daughter. They meet when their spouses, Peyton and Cullen, are killed on a Boeing 737 and realize that their partners were having an affair. The story evolves around the relationship between the two surviving spouses, as the tragedy envelopes their lives, and affects his career as a police officer and her campaign for re-election to Congress..



The film was stuck in development hell for fifteen years before finally being made. In the 1980s, actor Dustin Hoffman met with the book's author with a view to making the film. Although Hoffman prompted CBS Theatrical Films to acquire the rights with a view to his starring in the film, Hoffman rejected several drafts of the script before leaving the project altogether.[5] In the early 1990s, Kevin Costner was attached to star in the project, which was then to be directed by James L. Brooks, though this, too, never came to pass.[6]

Filming locations[edit]


Critical response[edit]

Random Hearts was poorly received by critics.

In a positive review from The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote that the films of Sydney Pollack "have managed to be linear while also drifting thoughtfully through the nuances of their characters' behavior, with a stylistic polish and keenness of observation not often found in American films any more." Maslin also noted that "laconic Ford is wrenchingly effective throughout".[8]

In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert wrote, "There are so many good things in Random Hearts, but they're side by side instead of one after the other. They exist in the same film, but they don't add up to the result of the film. Actually, the film has no result—just an ending, leaving us with all of those fine pieces, still waiting to come together. If this were a screenplay and not the final product, you could see how with one more rewrite, it might all fall into place."[9]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively gives the film a rating of 15% based on reviews collected from 87 critics.[10] The film received a 38% approval rating on Metacritic, based on 35 reviews.[11]

Box office[edit]

With an estimated budget of $64,000,000, Random Hearts was not a commercial success domestically, earning only $31,502,583 in the United States. The film went on to earn another $43,105,987 in international markets, ending up with a total worldwide gross of $74,608,570.[2]


  1. ^ "Box office/ business for Random Hearts". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=randomhearts.htm
  3. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=randomhearts.htm
  4. ^ "Full cast and crew for Random Hearts". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ New York Times (Warren Adler)
  6. ^ Sun Sentinel (Warren Adler)
  7. ^ "Filming locations for Random Hearts". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (October 8, 1999). "'Random Hearts': Together by a Twist of Fate". The New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (October 8, 1999). "Random Hearts". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Random Hearts". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  11. ^ "Random Hearts". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved March 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]