Genesis Cinema introduction:
Chicago Reader review:
I guess you're supposed to like this 1985 movie because it strikes all the right attitudes about lesbian sex; it's set in the 50s to make all of the 80s platitudes look revolutionary, and in the southwest to allow some fun with twangy regional accents and dippy local yokels. In an opening deliberately reminiscent of The Women, a tweedy, uptight professor of literature (Helen Shaver) arrives at a Nevada dude ranch to establish residency for a quickie divorce; her eye is caught by swaggering cowgirl Patricia Charbonneau, and she spends most of the rest of the film trying to rationalize the strange urge that possesses her. Mercifully, when the sex scene does finally arrive, it's good, steamy stuff, but director Donna Deitch is hopelessly clunky when it comes to getting her characters to talk—and they talk, and talk, and talk. Clipping that one scene is all it would take to qualify Desert Hearts as one of those “controversial” TV movies. Viewer discretion is indeed advised, on more than one level.
Here (and above) is the trailer.