For starters, somehow the movie managed to lack the dark humor of the play and felt far more melodramatic instead. I don't know how, given that some of the lines were exactly the same as those in the theater production, but they no longer came across as funny. It might have been the delivery or it could have been that I was watching this alone rather than in a crowded theater with a laughing audience. I'm inclined to think it was the former, as I didn't really care for any of the acting in this version, especially Diane Keaton who overacts (I almost want to say as per usual) in her role as Lenny. Indeed, nearly all of the actors seemed to be merely reading lines with a Southern accent more than truly embodying the characters. And, this is a bit more of a superficial complaint, but the main roles all appeared to be played by women older than the characters were meant to be.
Another reason I think there was less humor in the movie was that the role of Zackery Botrelle was greatly reduced as compared to the play. Mr. Botrelle, who is Babe's lawyer, had a huge vendetta against Babe's husband in the play but not at all in the movie. In the theater production, there was also a growing chemistry between Zackery Botrelle and Babe, which added tons of comedy to the play, but again this was hardly seen in the movie version.
Unfortunately, while I loved the play, I just didn't like the movie; I can't even come up with any redeeming qualities to the film version. Uninspired acting and filming can leave even the best source material feeling dull and lifeless. However, the movie apparently received good buzz when it came out back in 1986 and was even nominated for several awards. So maybe the saying "everyone's a critic" isn't true after all. Maybe I'm the only critical one.
What are your thoughts? Have you seen the movie version of Crimes of the Heart and did you think it was phenomenal or horrendous?