1982 / 106 min / 35mm / Drama
Director: Paul Cox
Producer: John B. Murray
Associate Producers: Erwin Rado, Fran Haarsma
Executive Producer: Phillip Adams
Script: Paul Cox, John Clarke
Cinematographer: Yuri Sokol
Sound Recordist: Ken Hammond
Production Designer: Neil Angwin
Production Manager: Jane Ballantyne
Editor: Tim Lewis
Cast: Wendy Hughes, Norman Kaye, Jon Finlayson, Julia Blake, Jonathan Hardy
LONELY HEARTS Awards
1982: AFI Award – Won Best Film: AFI – Nomination Best Direction – Paul Cox, Nomination Best Actress – Wendy Hughes, Best Actor – Norman Kaye, Nomination Best Screenplay – Paul Cox and John Clarke.
LONELY HEARTS is a sensitive love story simply told, with a rich vein of compassion and humour. The film begins as Mrs Thompson's funeral degenerates into farce - the mourners lose the hearse. Re-turning to his gloomy family home, Peter Thompson suddenly confronts his loneliness. A few weeks off 50, Peter’s closest emotional attachment is to a Dachshund.
Painfully aware of what he considers to be the futility of his existence, Peter decides to embark upon an adventure. He goes to a Lonely Heart's Club and pays for 'an introduction'. He is shown the photograph of a comparatively young and attractive woman. On being reassured that Patricia wants an older man, Peter invests in a new toupee.
For Patricia, also a victim of a smothering family, their first meeting requires some courage. Painfully shy and sexually inhibited, Patricia embarks on a tentative relationship with Peter and becomes traumatized by his first clumsy attempt at love-making.
Tormented and desperate, Patricia rejects Peter’s attempt to explain, following which he has a grotesque encounter with a prostitute, and some clumsy shoplifting leads to his arrest and public humiliation. When Patricia finally goes to his aid, it's as much a declaration of independence from her domineering parents as a declaration of love.
The Washington Post - Ria Kempley - 1992
“Cox, the idiosyncratic director of ‘Lonely Hearts,’ ‘Man of Flowers’ and other odd treasures, doesn't make movies, just little miracles.”
Urban Cine File - Andrew L Urban - 2007
“One of the small but valuable gems of Australian cinema, Lonely Hearts is a gently ascerbic film, if there is such a thing, exploring an Australia from a rather different perspective than was the usual case in the 70s and 80s.”