Movie Review: Wild at Heart


Author: Elaina Niederer

In the world of cinematic wonders, few directors possess the enigmatic allure and visionary prowess quite like David Lynch. I am not an extremely knowledgeable Lynch fan like some of my friends, but even with my amateur eye for movie motifs, I can say this: His films are not only narratives; they are experiences, unraveling in the mind long after the credits roll. Among his chimerical stories lies “Wild at Heart,” a film that epitomizes Lynch’s fondness for the surreal and grandeur.

From the very beginning, “Wild at Heart” packs more than one punch as it catches the viewer off-guard with an early brawl. The narrative follows Sailor Ripley (played with raw intensity by Nicolas Cage) and Lula Pace Fortune (portrayed with passion by Laura Dern), two lovers entangled in a whirlwind of attraction, violence, and redemption. Their journey, fraught with danger and desire, unfolds against a backdrop of Lynchian Americana, where every scene oozes with symbolism and subtext.

One of the film’s most enduring qualities is its quotability. My boyfriend and I could not stop repeating lines such as, “This here is a snakeskin jacket, and for me, it’s a symbol of my individuality and my belief… in personal freedom”. Not only is this quote perfectly timed and repeated throughout the film, but it echoes in the hearts of viewers, embodying the rebellious spirit that surges throughout the film. Similarly, “You got me hotter than Georgia asphalt” sizzles from Lula’s lips, a testament to Lynch’s mastery of dialogue that is both the right amount of poeticism and youthful sexual charge.

But “Wild at Heart” is more than just a collection of memorable lines; it’s a movie packed with Lynch’s trademark surrealism. Every frame is meticulously crafted, from the wide open spaces of small-town American highways to the stark visuals of Sailor and Lula’s romance and fervor. Lynch’s style is both mesmerizing and disconcerting, inviting viewers to engage themselves in a world where logic takes a backseat to intuition and instinct.

My favorite part of the movie is when Sailor and Lula have run off from home and are staying in a small motel off the highway. Lula and Sailor proclaim that they are going dancing tonight- and Lula stamps her feet aggressively on the bed. This sound of her stamping transitions to their stamping and tapping feet on the dance floor accompanied by Powermad’s Slaughterhouse intro. They dance their wild hearts away until Lula is felt up by another man in the crowd. Sailor cuts the band with one motion and proceeds to threaten the man to leave. (I’ll save the details for those who view it) Successful in his mission, Sailor then serenades Lula with Elvis’s “Love Me” (no- not Love Me Tender- although it is sung later on). This song quickly became my favorite Elvis song, and I must give kudos to Nicholas Cage for his performance and voice (he does his own singing). 

What I more deeply admire about “Wild at Heart” apart from everything already mentioned, is its willingness to let soulmates be soulmates. Beneath its veneer of Lynchian oddity lies an unbroken desire between the two. Sailor and Lula’s relationship, though tumultuous, is fueled by a primal yearning for companionship and romance in a world fraught with chaos. Theirs is a love that defies norms and expectations, a love that transcends the boundaries of reason and rationality. It is incredibly invigorating to witness and will make you smile and laugh with their eccentricity.


For my boyfriend and I, “Wild at Heart” became more than just a movie we saw on a random weekend at Grand Illusion; it became a shared adoration, a touchstone of our relationship. We would often find ourselves quoting lines from the movie, relishing in the familiarity of Sailor and Lula’s world. 

Overall, with its mesmerizing visuals, unforgettable characters, and hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, it stands as a testament to David Lynch’s unparalleled genius. So, if you’re ready to embrace the wild and venture into the calamity and ecstasy of burning love, take a leap of faith and give “Wild at Heart” a watch.

Rating: 9/10

Top Tracks: Wicked Game- Chris Isaak, Love Me- Elvis Presley, Baby Please Don’t Go- Them, Smoke Rings- Casa Loma Orchestra


Elaina Niederer I KXSU Arts Reporter

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