The story of straight-edge literature professor Vivian who travels to Reno to get away from a relationship breakup when she falls in love with an attractive and unconventional girl named Cay.
Lately I felt I couldn't consider myself a self-respecting cinephile unless I at the very least sampled more works both by female directors and from the gay/lesbian/related subgenre. Fortunately my university offered in its library collection an assortment I decided to peruse occasionally. Although Deitch's film is a romantic drama featuring lesbians, I still readily enjoyed it. Glad I took a chance on it and decided to expand my horizons as a adventurous film aficionado.
As a lesbian myself, I have to say I was extremely grateful when a friend recommended I watch this film some 12 odd years ago when I was a willowy 14/15 year old realising that my private emotions were geared towards my own sex but I didn't want to tell the world just yet. I must admit to struggling to stay with this slow burner, probably due to my impatient teenage angst. But stay with it I did and I have to say it was well worth the journey! Yes, it had a relatively graphic but erotic lesbian love scene, but the film is more than that, not least for the great character study of the two protagonists, and a rather uplifting conclusion. I have seen many lesbian-love story films since then, not least "Below her Mouth" and "Blue is the Warmest Color" - both of them exceptionally well done. But for me, "Desert Hearts" still stands out as an emotive and well handled love story that will stay with me until my dying days.