Jessica Biel’s Bleeding Heart thriller was acquired by Gravitas Ventures to obtain the North American rights to the film. The movie, which also stars Girls actress Zosia Mamet, follows the story of a yoga trainer who finds herself behaving in an out-of-character fashion, in order to protect her newly discovered sister (Mamet) from an abusive boyfriend, according to Indie Wire Film Blog.
Biel’s film was written and directed by Diane Bell, which also stars Grey’s Anatomy’s Kate Burton, as well as Edi Gathegi and Joe Anderson. Jessica and the movie deal was negotiated by Nolan Gallagher of Gravitas Ventures and by Alex Saks at ICM Partners and attorney Lawrence Kopeikin of Morris Yorn on behalf of the filmmakers.
“We’re looking forward to growing our relationship with the team at Gravitas,” said producer Jonathan Schwartz, whose credits also include indie darling, Like Crazy.
In April, Jessica Beil’s Bleeding Heart premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival. Gravitas plans on releasing the film on demand Nov. 3, and in theaters on Dec. 11.
The seriousness of its intentions are well on display in Diane Bell’s film about a peace-loving yoga instructor who finds her values severely tested after she meets her biological half-sister for the first time.
Starring Jessica Biel and Zosia Mamet in the central roles, Bleeding Heart wears its heart on its sleeve in its earnest exploration of how real-world violence can intrude on even the most pacifist ideals. But despite its non-exploitative approach to its subject, the film receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival is too schematic and obvious to have the desired impact.
As the story begins, May (Biel), who runs a New Age-style yoga studio along with her equally spiritual-minded boyfriend Dex (Edi Gathegi), has just tracked down her long-lost sibling. She turns out to be Shiva (Mamet)-the name is but one example of the heavy-handed symbolism on display—who, when asked by May what she does, replies, “I try to make people happy.”
Admitting that she achieves this goal by delivering massages, Shiva blanches when May asks her directly if she’s a prostitute.
Clearly in financial straits, Shiva has an abusive, violent boyfriend, Cody (Joe Anderson), who also serves as her pimp. Although clearly less than thrilled by May’s sudden presence in their lives, he becomes mollified by such gestures as when May gives her sister $1,000, no strings attached.
The resulting close friendship between the two women also rankles Dex-the sort of person who says “this is literally karma in action” with a straight face-especially when he finds out what Shiva does for a living, and Martha (Kate Burton), May’s adoptive mother, who’s not happy to find the pair camped out in her Santa Barbara home.
The performances in Jessica Beil’s Bleeding Heart are mostly uneven, with Biel unable to bring much inner life to the morally conflicted May and the supporting players hamstrung by their stereotypical roles. But Mamet, playing a character whose motives remain tantalizingly ambiguous, reveals a powerful screen presence only heretofore hinted in such previous roles as her naïve Shoshanna on HBO’s Girls.
Harry Hamlin also shows up briefly, with a pungent cameo as one of Shiva’s sleazy johns in a scene that produces unintentional laughs.
The filmmaker, whose bio informs us that she earned a Master’s degree in Mental Philosophy from Edinburgh University and once ran a yoga studio herself, is clearly aiming at exploring philosophical issues in her sophomore feature.
But Jessica Biel’s Bleeding Heart unfortunately falls well short of its goals with many critics. It will be interesting to see how it actually does in theaters.